As my final set of scans and check-ups approach, I look back on these past 5 years… Thinking of all the things, both good and bad, that have happened since the day I was diagnosed. In todays post, I’m going to be looking back at the mental benefits that I gained, having experienced cancer first hand.
Having any kind of disease can be both a blessing and a curse.
A blessing in the sense that it teaches you how to adapt, whilst a curse as it restricts your quality of life.
One key benefit that I found however, was that being ill taught me how to motivate myself. How to get through the dark days and keep on going…
Although unpleasant, painful and heartbreaking, one blessing that I’m always grateful for is the fact that cancer helped teach me how to motivate myself when the world felt like it was plotting against me.
Something of which I’m sure other people have also taken away from having “the big C”.
Gritting it Out
“Grit” is defined as: “courage and resolve; strength of character”.
Grit is something that any cancer patient needs to already have, or develop during their treatment period and throughout the initial stages of remission too.
Treatment and the constant fear of death looming over you, inspires you to show grit and to keep on pushing through when the going gets tough.
During treatment, you have to show grit in both physical and psychological capacities. However, as the treatment tests you on both levels, you develop that extra bit of resolve deep within you as a by-product of your experiences.
When most people would stop, or take a break, you have to push on. Gritting your teeth and getting through the shit-storm!
There’s a saying that goes something like “Good health is a crown on the head of a well person, that only a sick person can see”.
And boy is it true!
When you’re ill with such a life-changing disease, you become aware of so much more around you. The diagnosis and the effects of treatment offer so much perspective into the important things in life.
Everything makes you question your beliefs. It makes you consider what things in life really matter.
Cancer shows you that maybe you didn’t have much to complain about after all.
One of the biggest mental benefits I got from having “C” was this… That sense of perspective that only those affected directly by it can understand.
Alongside completely re-establishing your perspective on life, cancer fills you with a real; deep sense of gratitude.
Gratitude for life, for your memories, your friends, family and the people who helped to treat you.
“The big C” slaps you so hard in the face that you are forced to wake up, smell the coffee and see that we cannot do everything on our own. There are so many people along the way and throughout the journey that help. In one way or another.
It fills you with an incredible sense of gratitude that can leave you close to tears when you really reflect and look back on the journey.
A journey which could probably be best described as an absolute rollercoaster ride…
Gratitude for me, is the biggest mental benefit that’s stayed with me since day 1. I often find myself thinking of people – sometimes completely at random – thinking of how grateful I am for their love, support and encouragement along the way.
Obstacles Can Be Overcome
Let’s face it.
Whoever you are, cancer is a considerably big obstacle. One that you’ve got to face alone…
As much as people may be there to support, assist and to treat you, the disease is yours to fight. Nobody can sit inside your body and tackle the beast with you. Nor can they share the burden when it gets too much to bare.
That’s why you soon learn that if you’re going to win this fight, you have to overcome that big ass obstacle and all of the other ones that crop up along the way!
Conventional cancer treatment has so many side-effects, that almost everyone will have a number of obstacles, illnesses and infections that get in the way of your progress.
However, it’s through experiencing and overcoming these significant challenges, that we gain confidence back in normal life.
We can gain confidence in knowing that we can overcome obstacles. We’ve already overcome one of the biggest obstacles there is; so in reality – the rest of life should be a doddle. (Not quite that simple but you get the gist ;-D)
Mental Benefits of Having Cancer
These are just a few of the mental benefits that I feel I gained during my treatment.
In a sense, I am lucky. In a sense, I am not. However, it’s all down to the way we look at things and our past experiences. All we can do is take the best from them and grow from that.
Not everyone will have any/many mental benefits from having cancer. It completely depends on the individual. However, I hope that this post can inspire someone fighting the fight, to search for the mental benefits they can gain from this experience.
In the hope that they can come out a winner. A winner in this fight and a winner in the rest of their life there-after.
This one’s dedicated to all those fighting the good fight right now and to all those who’ve faced it – past and present.
For more posts regarding cancer, my journey with it and other, informative posts, click on the links below: