What if I had cancer? The (Painfully) Honest Truth

 

You might think that cancer is the kind of thing you would know if you had it. After all, this illness has a reputation for being aggressive and sneaky. You hear stories about people who are in perfect health one day, then diagnosed with cancer the next — or even the same — day. That’s why when someone tells you they have cancer, your response is often: “Holy crap! How did you catch that so fast?” But what if that person was you? What if you didn’t catch it as fast as everyone thinks? What if, in fact, it had been lurking inside of you for some time before making its presence known? How would you cope with that knowledge? Do you think your answers would be any different now than they were a few minutes ago? If not, why not?

Knowing you have cancer would be scary.

This is a scary thought for anyone. It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when.” You can’t say for sure that you’ll ever be diagnosed, but you also can’t say for sure that you won’t. Why, then, would you want to live knowing that you have cancer? Well, aside from the fact that you probably don’t know that you do, cancer doesn’t have to be the death sentence that it’s often made out to be. Depending on where it’s located, what type of cancer it is, and your health overall, it might be completely treatable. Even if it’s not, you don’t have to let the diagnosis consume you. You can still live a full and happy life, even knowing that you have cancer.

Finding out you have cancer would be even scarier.

This is understandably a terrifying thought. Finding out that you have cancer would likely put you in a state of shock and leave you feeling helpless and hopeless. You might even have a hard time accepting that you have it. While it might seem strange, some people refuse to believe they have cancer. They might argue with their doctor and refuse treatment, even if it’s the best option for them because they’re so convinced they don’t actually have cancer. This denial can cause the cancer to progress more quickly and make it harder to treat. But, there is hope. You can overcome the shock and fear. There are plenty of people who have been through what you’re going through, and they’ve managed to get through it. You can, too.

You might feel alone, but you’re not.

There will be plenty of people who want to surround you with love and support — and there should be. But, sometimes, even people who care about you the most won’t be able to provide the kind of support you need. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone in your diagnosis; you just might feel that way. Feeling alone is a common symptom of cancer, and it can affect every person who has it to some extent. Whether it’s your friends, family, or healthcare team, there will be people who want to help you through this difficult time. You might not always be able to see them, but they’re there. You just have to let them in.

It’s important to remember your worth.

Cancer is scary — and it can make you feel like you’re not as strong as you used to be. It can make you feel like you’re not as capable as you used to be. It can cause you to doubt yourself in ways you never thought possible. This is understandable. Cancer is a scary disease that can be incredibly difficult to deal with. But, you need to remember that you’re more than what this illness says about you. If someone tells you that you have cancer, you’re probably going to feel like you’re less important than you were before they told you. You might start to doubt your skills and capabilities, and that’s understandable. You’re going through something big and scary, and it’s normal to feel less than yourself. But, you can’t let yourself forget who you really are. You’re still you, even with cancer.

Cancer is a mental game – knowing it’s there changes everything.

Cancer isn’t something you can see or hear. It isn’t some external force that can be easily identified and defeated. It’s a disease that lives inside your body, feeding off your cells and slowly killing them. It’s not until it’s fully grown and is large enough to be seen that it becomes a serious threat. It’s something you can’t fight or defeat, at least not on your own. It’s something that slowly chips away at you, slowly taking bits and pieces of who you are. It’s a battle you have to fight every single day, whether you’re aware of it or not. The difference between knowing you have cancer and not knowing is, the fight begins the moment you find out.

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