Survivors Share Lessons Learned and Experience Gained During Their Cancer Journeys
Cancer survivorship starts on the day of diagnosis. From challenges to triumphs and everything in between, each step of every cancer journey can transform the lives of patients and their loved ones.
To mark Cancer Survivors Month, three survivors have shared some of the obstacles faced, knowledge gained and changes made since they heard the words, “You have cancer.”
"Getting back to daily life and work can typically help get your mind off the treatment you just completed. Working in cancer treatment at The James though, as I do, can sometimes cause the opposite, and intermittently my mind will go to the worst-case scenario because I do see them from time to time. However, interacting with my colleagues, family and friends really helps me get back to everyday life. I think one of the hardest things can be always waiting for late side effects, or feeling like the other shoe is going to drop at any time. Focusing on the positive in recovery and setting up future plans or goals has been the best way for me to continue to move forward." – Meredith Hunt
“[Cancer is] going to be terrible, but it’s going to be a learning experience. Part of you needs to be able to say, ‘Yes this sucks,’ and let it out and cry, but also look at the blessing of the time you’re going to be able to spend with your friends and family. It’s the little things—getting out into the world and seeing how beautiful it is, especially knowing that you were at risk of not being in this world if not for all the amazing treatments we now have.” – Erica Mantell
My cancer journey has been filled with a variety of emotions and feelings. First there was disbelief, followed quickly by worry and then anger—even now I feel angry from time to time. While anger is understandable given the situation, it does not change my reality and has not been beneficial. So, I have learned to forgive myself and my body. I had viewed my body as a traitor—instead of providing me with the strength needed to care for myself and my family, my body became weak and unfamiliar to me. It was not what I wanted—it is still not—but that’s okay. I am learning who I am meant to be—a strong survivor—and learning to let go of the anger I feel towards myself, and to love myself. I am not always successful in this—one step forward may include ten steps back—but I am motivated to practice forgiveness. – Jennifer Bucholz