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7 things I’ve Learned From Cancer

The past 7 months have without a doubt been the hardest months of my life. In November 2015 I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. I can still remember sitting in my doctor’s office and hearing those words: “You have breast cancer“.

A dark cloud descended that day and it took some force to push it away and keep going. It hasn’t been easy, that cloud has come back time and again and it’s been the biggest wake-up call of my life.

There are things I’ve learned from Cancer that I never would have, had I not had this experience and believe it or not, it isn’t all bad.

I hear people saying this all the time, that good things come from Cancer and I agree that they really do. Some good, some bad. What is apparent though is that there are so many things I’ve learned in the past 7 months about myself and others and I’m grateful for that opportunity, despite the circumstances.

So here are the 7 things I’ve learned from Cancer (so far!):

1.  It’s ok to be scared

Fear alone will not kill you so if you’re scared, that’s ok and it’s completely understandable. Cancer alone is scary but when you add to that the relentless appointments, blood tests, scans, waiting for results and treatment, there’s a lot to potentially be scared about. It’s ok to be scared, lean on your support network. It’s their job to help you through.

If your diagnosis or the treatment plan ahead scares you, ask your Doctors and Oncologists to give you more information. Share your fears with them because they will likely have a solution.

2.  It’s ok to ignore the world

There will be days when you want to shut everyone and everything else out. To quiet the noise. That’s ok, take time out, step away from other people’s problems and focus on yourself or anything else that gets you through.

If it takes you days or weeks to reply to messages and emails, those people will understand. Go at your own pace. You can control that.

3.  It’s ok to hate the world

If you’re faced with feelings of anger, it’s understandable. There is a lot to be angry about with a cancer diagnosis. You might feel “why me?”. Your friends and family will be thinking this for you too.

It’s ok to be angry, to scream and shout if that makes you feel better. There have been many times since my diagnosis when my husband has held me as I’ve screamed and cried. Often, just having that opportunity to vent and let it all out has been enough for me to then pick myself back up and keep going.

4.  It’s ok to be self-indulgent

If you have people depending on you, this isn’t always possible of course. When you can though, make some time just for you and don’t feel bad about being selfish and doing whatever you need to do to get through. Your family and friends are there to support you and love you and they’ll be more than happy to allow a little self-indulgence if it makes you feel better in a difficult situation.

5.  It’s ok to cry

By this I mean it’s ok to cry in front of other people. Sometimes, things are going to get on top of you and you might feel overwhelmed. If you want to cry, then cry. It doesn’t mean you’ve given up or you’re not coping. It means you’re human.

I gave my husband a warning early on that if I cried, it didn’t mean I was defeated, it just meant I was crying! But knowing that I was just having a “moment” rather than our world falling down around us gave him the confidence to let me cry, knowing I’d be ok afterwards.

6.  It’s ok to laugh

Oh and as they say, laughing is the best medicine. For me this couldn’t be more true and in a sea of sadness, a rare chance to find laughter is wonderful.

When times get tough, call a friend who always has you in stitches, watch a funny TV episode or a comedy show, look at *YouTube videos of cute animals or babies or whatever you need to do just to laugh! (* I don’t do this!)

7.  It’s ok to make plans

I struggled for months to even consider planning for the future, as if I might jinx things if I looked too far ahead. Of course the rational side of me knew this wouldn’t make a difference but when faced with a life-changing diagnosis, it’s sometimes hard to let yourself think of the future.

When you’re ready, perhaps at the end of your treatment, ease yourself back in gently to planning again. Whether it’s planning to do something later that day, that week, that year. It’s one of the best things I’ve found to make me feel ‘normal’ again.

As much as I would love a crystal ball sometimes to see what my future holds, it probably isn’t wise for any of us to know too much.

Nothing I could have done in my past would have prevented me from getting my cancer. It’s happened and we’re dealing with it.

As much as I would love for none of this to have happened, it’s now going to be one of the biggest events of my life story and one that will likely revisit my thoughts every day.

All I can tell myself, and others, is to live for each day and to do whatever I need to do to get through this and to the other side.

The things I’ve learned from Cancer have made me a stronger version of myself. I am grateful for the treatment I have undergone, for everything that I have and for the days I am still here with my family.

As always, thank you for your support and love x

My Friend Has Cancer eBook by Mim Jenkinson
My Friend Has Cancer eBook by Mim Jenkinson

Read next:

7 Things I've Learned from Cancer - Triple Negative Breast Cancer How Cancer changes you good things about having cancer bad things about having cancer
Image Source: Pixabay

Linked to You Baby Me Mummy, Amy Treasure and Honest Mum



  1. Emma @ Life, kids and a glass of red
    / 8:29 pm

    You have such a wonderful attitude and strength. Sending you more courage and light and here’s to you kicking cancer’s arse x

    • / 8:55 pm

      Thank you lovely – it doesn’t stand a chance! x

  2. / 5:12 am

    Such wise words darling that will help many. Love you lady x

    • / 6:53 pm

      Thank you beautiful! Lots of love x x

  3. / 4:05 pm

    Amazing post! I could not leave without sharing it. SO brave to write about it and a very positive message. #Brilliantblogposts

    • / 7:13 pm

      Thank you very much for saying that :) x

  4. John Adams
    / 3:24 pm

    Very uplifting and reflective post, clearly written in very tough circumstances. The realism and positivity shine through. #BrilliantBlogPosts

    • / 3:31 pm

      Thank you so much John :)

  5. Toni @ Gym Bunny Mummy
    / 1:44 am

    I don’t even know what to say to this. You’re so strong, even just to admit how terrified you are shows how amazing you are xx

    • / 10:45 am

      Thank you so much Toni x x I definitely have my moments and thank goodness for my husband then! x

  6. Mindful Mummy Mission
    / 7:32 am

    Wow – you’ve just made a post about cancer supremely uplifting – your strength comes through in your writing and these 7 points seem to be spot on. Extremely inspiring stuff. x #TheList

    • / 11:08 am

      Oh thank you so much for that! x

  7. lizzie ( firstooth )
    / 10:00 pm

    Such a lovely post. Every woman or even man who experiences this is so strong. I can’t even imagine the amount of people who would have turned to your blog in their times of sadness. Really great tips here I remember a girl who was diagnosed with cancer in her early twenties and I remember her going through each of your tips. She cried, she laughed, she definitely indulged when she felt up to it and at times she was angry. Angry with the world like you said, angry at the doctors at people who weren’t suffering and at God. I couldn’t agree more that laughter is the best medicine too! X

    • / 11:13 am

      Thank you lovely x you’re so right – laughter helps such a lot! x

  8. International Elf Service
    / 4:02 pm

    Yes! I think we can all put too much pressure on ourselves to ‘perform’ and sometimes we just need to think of ourselves and do what we need to do and then come back into play again. xxx

    • / 11:10 am

      You’re absolutely right – sometimes we have to take the brave face off for a minute, don’t we x

  9. / 8:49 am

    Ah Mim, I love your unflinching honesty and bravery – even admitting that you’re sometimes scared and angry is courageous in itself. We’re all right there with you. #thelist

    • / 11:09 am

      Thank you Tim, that means such a lot :)

  10. Kate Tunstall
    / 2:45 am

    You’re so fabulous. I’m sure this will be very helpful for a lot of people – both those going through it and their families and friends. Xxx

    • / 11:08 am

      Thank you lovely x x

  11. / 11:37 pm

    It’s so interesting to hear this and you’ve put it so succinctly, as always! #thelist

    • / 11:50 pm

      Thank you lovely x

  12. / 8:12 pm

    This is such an inspiring post and lovely to read. Thank you :)

    • / 8:14 pm

      Thank you so much for that x

  13. You Baby Me Mummy
    / 8:00 pm

    Mim I hope you know how totally amazing you are and how you are an utter inspiration to so many people xxx

    • / 11:04 pm

      Oh thank you so much lovely lady, that’s so so nice of you x x

  14. Donna
    / 6:38 am

    You are incredible Mim. I can’t imagine what my reaction would be but you have always faced this head on and been so incredible brave. Lots of love as always x

    • / 10:25 am

      That means a lot to me, thank you lovely x x

  15. / 10:33 pm

    Wonderful post as always and proper inspirational!
    I especially love the part about having a good cry! Passing this on to my lovely Mum.
    You’re so lush! Xxx

    • / 10:35 pm

      Thank you beautiful – you are fablas!! x x

  16. Kate / Pouting In Heels
    / 10:01 pm

    You are just wonderful Mim! #thatisall

    • / 10:19 pm

      Ahh thank you lady! You are very wonderful too x x

  17. Ness
    / 9:59 pm

    You’ve completely nailed it here. As soon as I saw the title of your post I wondered what I’dsay . Then I read your words. Yes, exactly. All of that. I just couldn’t articulate it. I’ve definitely had those crying sessions, but like you I’ll never give up. Hope radiation is going okay xoxo

    • / 10:19 pm

      Oh thank you lovely! I had my first zap today – slightly weird but ok. Hope you’re feeling good! x x

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I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.