Each year, on the first Sunday in June, cancer survivors around the globe unite to show the world how life after cancer looks!
June 2nd marked the 32nd Annual National Cancer Survivors Day (NCSD) which provides survivors a wonderful opportunity for cancer survivors to connect with other survivors, celebrate milestones, and recognize family and friends for their support.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reported that in 2018 “an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people will die from the disease.”
I was diagnosed with melanoma just a few months before my late husband Alan passed away from mesothelioma. Can you imagine — two parents with a preteen daughter sharing a cancer bed? I have to confess, I was terrified, and cancer has changed my life immensely — but in some ways, for the better. My top five cancer life lessons are below. And YES, I feel great about kicking the $*#! out of cancer!
A cancer survivor is defined as “anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life.” As the NCSD Foundation stated, “more than 15.5 million cancer survivors” reside in the United States. With the advancement of research and technology, patients are living longer and better lives. Studies indicate that fewer cancer patients are succumbing to their diagnoses, thanks to early detection and cancer prevention techniques.
National Cancer Survivors Day aims to remind people that “life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding, and even inspiring.” One of the most rewarding parts about connecting with a community of cancer survivors is sharing the ways in which we make this happen for ourselves.
My top five cancer life lessons are:
- Believe in yourself: Hope and trust are very powerful.
- Live life without regrets: Live your life, not your cancer.
- Help others: As Maya Angelou said, Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
- Let people into your life: Family and friends want to give, help, share, and listen.
- Embrace gratitude: Each day is a gift. Live in the moment; find your joy.
Elizabeth Kubler Ross beautifully wrote: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Sharing makes us stronger, so join the conversation with other cancer survivors on Twitter with #NCSD2018.
Enjoy each day and make memories to last a lifetime.