Cancer Tips Life

Celebrate and support cancer survivors

Today is National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States, a day to celebrate and support over 18 million cancer survivors. To celebrate life. And also raise awareness of challenges that cancer survivors face.

I am celebrating today! I celebrate every day.

It’s an emotional day for me. I am GRATEFUL and BLESSED every day that my body cleared three cancers. It is the one thing that I think about EVERY. DAY. Even when I don’t want to.

Raising awareness of life after treatment

There is a myth that once you finish treatment, you are “done.” Sadly, that is not true. While the chemo, radiation, whatever other treatment course may finish, being a cancer survivor never ends. A new chapter begins in the journey. It is a blessing, for sure. To be able to write another chapter in the story of life.

But it often has plot twists (as do most of life’s chapters).

Side effects from treatment, follow up care, mental health issues and more are very real, everyday issues and concerns impacting most cancer survivors. Some challenges:

  • Many of us face long term side effects that impact physical and mental health.
  • PTSD is a very real thing for cancer survivors. I’ll never be able to smell a certain shampoo without triggering thoughts of cold capping to save my hair during breast cancer. Or eat at Big Boy restaurants without thinking of bone cancer treatment (my mom understands this one). Counseling has been critical to help me manage the many emotions that pop up at times.
  • Rising medical costs and fighting insurance for post-treatment care, preventive care and discrimination of rights can be ongoing projects. So frustrating.
  • Cancer/health care can be financially impactful. Even with medical insurance, copays, deductibles and out of pocket expenses add up (my out of pocket expenses topped $5,000 the year I went through breast cancer treatment). Then include housing, transportation, food and more to budgets and many people face financial debt after a cancer diagnosis.
  • Many survivors face employment challenges, in finding and/or keeping a job due to many reasons.
  • Relationships can become difficult or awkward, whether with family, friends and/or a significant other.
  • It can be really lonely. Most people stop asking how you are or expect you to ‘move on’ from concerns and emotions because it’s ‘not cancer’ and you should focus on something else (you would be shaking your head for hours at the things said to me over 25 years as a cancer survivor, including from friends and family).

As the number of cancer survivors continues to grow (YAY!), it is more important than ever to address the unique needs of this population.

[Hey friends: If you’re a cancer survivor anywhere on your journey, check out the many resources, tips and motivation found in the blog. Use the search box and categories to find specific subjects. I also invite you to subscribe to get access to my resource library. We’re in this TOGETHER!]

Exciting, blessed, joyful chapters to come

It’s an exhausting at times. And a blessing all the time….to be alive to manage all that comes with living beyond cancer. It is gratitude, love, joy, hope, appreciation and optimism that I choose to embrace every day. I fought to clear three cancers so I can be ALIVE to embrace every beautiful moment that flows into my life.

On National Cancer Survivors Day, let’s celebrate and support cancer survivors everywhere!

So today and EVERY day, I hope my fellow cancer survivors pause to celebrate the journey, and acknowledge your strength and courage. And I hope others will also pause to see where and how you can support your loved ones impacted by this disease.

Cheers to living beyond cancer, my friends!

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