Home Cancer Expert Q&A Hub Managing Day-to-day Life with Cancer

Finding the Silver Lining

I was chatting with a good friend and fellow volunteer at the MacMillan Centre yesterday and he suddenly turned to me and said that being diagnosed with cancer had given him a new purpose and perspective in life. He commented upon how cancer has led him to meeting and helping lots of people who have 'been there' and with whom he can easily connect. We soon expanded the conversation and we both realised how much our lives have changed and not all of it bad. We have both lost friends who were not able/prepared to make compromises for the new us but we have also made new ones, caring, generous people who make allowances for our bad days and who give us practical support and laughter when it is needed. In addition of course, our voluntary work has given us purpose and the feeling of being useful.

Would it sound arrogant if I say that I think that I have a greater sense of kindness and compassion for others than I had before? As a 'buddy' I often chat with men who have recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer. By talking about my own experiences and removing some of the mystery I can usually see an easing of the natural fear and anxiety in their demeanour.

One of my favourite singers Chris Rea, had a huge hit with a song called 'The Road the Hell' in 1989. little did he know at the time that he would subsequently be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and undergo the removal of his pancreas and gall bladder. He has 30 pills and 7 injections every day. He says that he now preaches 'Learn to live life, see the clouds, feel the wind, there are so many things that you think are important actually aren't. He has practiced this by putting his wife and daughters first, enjoying a pint in the pub and writing and playing music he likes rather than seeking fame.

Cancer reminds us that our time on earth is limited and that it is important to live life to the full and not waste it on things that don't matter.

Rob x


  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 762 mod


    Hi Rob, I’m trying a new thing today by speaking into my phone to put a post up and seeing if I can do this quicker than trying to type out everything on my phone or laptop LOL 😀.

    I loved your piece that you’ve written here, it’s so beautifully written and very true.

    I don’t think it is arrogant at all, going through cancer changes you as a person, changes your perspective that in turn will have an effect on our interactions with others. It is fantastic you can meet again with the Macmillan team and I know how rewarding you find it, but also you make valuable contributions when you go.

    Life does indeed change dramatically after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer it’s an instant change I think and one that we have to come to terms with, get used to figure out a way through it and if we are fortunate enough to come through it successfully with treatment doing what we all hope it does then we have to find a way through life post cancer. For me my life changed very much and I am now five years passed my treatment and I’m still cancer free which is fantastic but I’m still navigating my life trying to find a way through trying to figure out what it is I should be doing, what and how I can live to the best I possibly can, making the most of every day seeing the good in things, seeing the good in people.

    Being a member here on this forum and community has been a real huge blessing to me. Meeting so many wonderful people, making friends with others who are going through cancer, who’ve been through cancer or who have loved one’s going through cancer, all of us sharing our stories and our insight and wisdom and encouragement with each other has really added quality to my life which I’m very thankful for.

    This week I am taking part in an online course, where I am looking at aspects of my life, things I’ve done and things I might of wanted to do, things that I might still want to do and looking at various ways where that might be achievable, possible and then looking at the things that might be limiting me doing those things . Interestingly most of the limitations are my own fear and self-doubt, I expect many people can identify with that one. Haha 😀. But it is a really good course and I’m really loving it, it is challenging and thought-provoking but uplifting at the same time.

    I hope you and Mary are having a good week. Sat in the garden speaking this, it seems to be working! Hahaha 😀😀 , so much quicker!

    Chat soon,

    Lou xx

  • JerseyBobJerseyBob Posts: 83 mod
    edited June 10


    Hi Lou

    My goodness, I am really impressed that you have produced such an excellent fluent commentary by speaking into your phone. I have had a go but my attempt was full of errs and ums and general bumbling comments and I have abandoned the attempt for now.

    I know that you have had a number of challenges to face in addition to coping with your own cancer diagnosis and the subsequent aches, pains and side effects of treatments which are so common even when the cancer has been beaten.

    I have also found that being a member of this community has played a fantastic part in my personal journey through cancer and I feel privileged to be involved with so many wonderful caring and courageous people.

    I am interested to hear that you are taking part in an online course looking at aspects of your life. It must be thought provoking and also very challenging. A couple of years ago, I attended a HOPE Course (Help to Overcome Problems Effectively). developed by Coventry University and MacMillan. It was a six week programme of two hour sessions during which we all spoke openly about the personal issues mental and physical which we had faced and were facing. I think it really bonded the eight of us who attended the course. We have remained in touch through a WhatsApp group and we are all getting together for a little garden party in a couple of weeks time.

    My counsellor gave me a little book to read called ‘Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers PhD. It is available in a Quick Reads edition and it is really fascinating. Mary read it too and she was surprised at how relevant and useful she found it.

    Chat soon

    Rob xx

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