My goal is to help you create a lifestyle of positivity and possibility. I am smiling!

– Warmly, Honey

Living With the Fear of Cancer While Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Living With the Fear of Cancer While Maintaining a Positive Attitude and Gratitude

Today is World Cancer Day. I am a survivor, but I never dwelled on the “Why me?” I never thought about how and why this insidious disease attacked my body. Dealing with cancer in a positive manner requires a body and mind healing process… I know.

My thoughts when I heard the news from my doctor, twelve years ago, that I had two forms of deadly cancer, was never burdened with self-pity. Life is a great teacher and I learned early on as a child that I had two choices in my life. I could sink or I could swim. Darling, I preferred swimming. So, I began developing the capacity to recover from unpleasant difficulties. I had not only the will, but I was fortunate to have the gene for positivity. Having a positive attitude and resilience make for a great partnership.

Why Did I Survive Cancer?

Now, with these two great qualities in my corner, I still did not have a home run recovery. Why? Because I was terrified and still am of cancer.

I do ask myself, “Why did I survive cancer when I shouldn’t have? Was it meant to be?” I ask myself this question often. My only answer is I was lucky. It was accidentally caught and I was proactive and resilient from that day forward. I wanted to return to good health.

Are situations meant to be? Is one’s luck written in the stars? I tend to think, because I want to, that they may be.

My Advice Regarding a Cancer Diagnosis

What advice can I give you if you or your family have been threatened by cancer? A cancer patient has to deal with healing their body and their mind. The mind is as important as the body, even more so because your attitude lingers; your body usually mends.

Choosing your doctor’s is as important for your mind as much as for your body. So take your time doing your research and even if you have to travel to another city or state for the best care, do it. This is your life. You are important to your family. You are loved by many. So, love yourself. Here is an example.

My Daughter Jenny’s Story

My daughter Jenny has been through so much this past year. Her daughter Skylar had Thyroid Cancer, caught in time, and is doing well. Her hubby, my son-in-law, had surgery less than a month ago (on her birthday) for an aggressive form of cancer. Fortunately, it was Stage 1 but heading toward Stage 2.

He did not stay in his city for the surgery. Why? He was given advice by another doctor to travel out of state to USC Hospital in Los Angeles because the surgeon specialized in his form of Cancer. He listened and had surgery this month. His mind is far more positive because he traveled out of state for the surgery. He knows he went to the Crème de la Crème of surgeons. What a psychological plus for his physical and emotional healing. He feels safe. And, he feels the Cancer will not return. So, take your time and make sound decisions.

The Positive and Resilient Me

I was terror-struck after my surgeries. I had two surgeries within two weeks of each other. The results were positive, both Stage 1. But, the emotional circumstances and trauma were too much for me to bear. Every night when we turned off the lights, for a very long time, I would whisper in my Ultimate Concierge’s ear, “I am so terrified.” And, when it was time for future CAT Scans, weeks before I still tell him, “I am terrified.”

The positive and resilient me did not stop living my life. And, no one would have ever known my fears unless I shared them with them. I knew I had to work on my mindset.

So, what did I do? I went to a trusted friend who had Stage 2 of my type of cancer. She passed away a few years ago, I remember sobbing. Jennifer worked at the Chanel Boutique and I could not hold back my tears while we sat together on the couch. She helped me. She sent me to Jennifer, a psychologist who was helping her. If I trust someone and they give me good advice, I follow through. And hopefully, you will too; whether it is for you or a family member.

Jennifer taught me to see my cancer as grey, not black. She knew my case and told me to be realistic and the reality was: the chances of my cancer returning was slim to none. And, I have tried to practice her theory. I saw her for two years during my time of emotional healing from fear.

I Took Care of Myself

Lastly, I took care of myself. Twelve years later I will tell you I have never missed a CAT Scan appointment (though I am still terrified of the result.) I have traveled home from wherever I was to use the same CAT Scan machine and see my surgeon immediately after.

Three years ago I saved my life because I was proactive. I had to have another surgery and it was Stage 1. If I had procrastinated or not gone because I was fearful, or traveling, I probably would not be writing this story to you today.

Cancer never stopped me from living life to its fullest. And, if you take care of your physical and emotional wellbeing, you will too. Because of this mentality, I started I authored a book, Stories for my Grandchild, I learned to play Mahjong, I traveled far and wide with my Ultimate Concierge to places like Antarctica, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, India, Africa, and more. As well, I have met interesting people, learned many lessons, watched family members get married and have children. I helped my granddaughter Skylar and my darling son-in-law Bruce through their cancer experiences because we are all survivors. And, I will help you if you need me. It would be my pleasure to give back.

Cancer Taught Me to Have Gratitude and More

So, am I still terrified? Yes and no. Darling, I have worn myself out being so terrified! I am smiling but it is the truth. But, I am not as terrified as I was. I think of Jennifer and the color grey because for my situations it is the right call and I continue to be proactive and never miss my CAT Scans. I just passed another test a week ago. Whew!

Did cancer change me? Yes and no. But, I was always grateful. In every experience, you can find something to be grateful for. My mother always taught me to write thank-you notes when I was a little girl, this taught me to live with gratitude. And, I always lived outside the box. I have loved life and my family. Because of this, I don’t have to race to do more!

I think because I have been threatened by cancer, I see life differently than some people. I am not putting myself on a pedestal, I just think I sometimes see myself as a wise fairy or angel hovering over people, places, and things and wonder… why?

Have you or someone you love dealt with cancer? As I said, I’m here for you if you need me. Please let me know any questions or thoughts you have in the comments at the bottom of this page. 

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  1. Thank you for the blog re: cancer.
    My family is riddled with cancer stories- some with good endings- others NOT.
    I have the BRACA gene and since watching my mother and grandmother succumb to cancer, I chose prophylactic mastectomies 10 years ago.
    I spent yesterday in out patient surgery with my only living relative- my younger sister. During her last physical, excessive blood was found in her urine. So, a CAT scan and colostomy was ordered. We we’re sincerely petrified- the worry is always right on the edge! She is a breast cancer survivor…
    I feel so much more hopeful and prepared after reading this today. I love the “gray-black” analogy.
    Jill is ok… the first thing the doctor said was No Cancer.
    Thank you for such healing advice.

  2. Survived three cancer surgeries in the past year. Going for colonoscopy next week and am actually looking forward to it as I want to know there is nothing cancerous left. And if there is a problem, I am full speed ahead to take whatever measures are necessary to fight and beat it. Prayer is my constant companion! And I am so lucky to have such a huge support system around me.

  3. My son’s fiancé was diagnosed with lung cancer 3 weeks ago. They have come up from Florida seeking treatment here in Boston. The difference in care is dramatic. Lesson #1- never be afraid to seek a second opinion and never be afraid to travel to get the care you need. Though the diagnosis is the same, stage 4 lung cancer, the treatment being offered is vastly different.
    Lesson #2 Be proactive and don’t just accept the first thing someone tells you. This includes insurance companies. The other ugly side of cancer is that the cost of cutting edge treatment is staggering yet there are ways to work around a lot of things.
    We know that her condition is treatable but not curable. That being said, advances are made every day so we remain optimistic.
    Thanks again, Honey for sharing your experiences with us.

  4. Your story touched me. In 1997 I was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. None in my family. I didn’t even know anyone with cancer. After freaking out and tons of tears, I figured if your body responds to your mental state ie, tears in response to sadness, I would try to help my body by filling my mind with goodness. I asked friends for suggestions of funny movies or anything that made them laugh. Through out my grueling treatment ( 3 stem cell transplants after regular chemo , radiation ) I felt gratitude and humor and always hope. 23 years later ( 2 relapses) I’m still working, making time for my passion of painting, travel, spending as much time as I can with my boyfriend of many years and my children my grandchildren, my mom, sibs and friends. I am soooo happy to be alive and live in this glorious city, Chicago. I’m sorry this is so long, but writing made me think! Thank you for your writings and I wish you continued good health!
    Cindy Oneal

  5. Hello Honey!
    I like your article about cancer and how to stay strong and positive to get over it. The fear of the cancer coming back will always be there in the back of our mind .Today is the World Cancer Day and I would like to share my story with you.
    My name is Daniela and we have met at the Ritz Carlton nail salon. I used to work there as a manicurist .I hope you remember me,because Lin was doing your nails ,but I have done your husband ‘s many and pedy.
    Anyway I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in the Fall of 2018.
    I was scared to death.I had the chemo,surgery and chemo again.One year after that I start filling better.
    My family support me all the way.
    I do alternative treatments right now and I am in remission,but I learned a lot about cancer and completely understand what you mean by writing this article. Thank You for helping others to feel strong and giving them hope for positive results.

  6. Thank you Honey for sharing your story! I have just finished a 20 month journey through two surgeries for two different cancers and multiple forms of treatments.
    Your article gave me the push I needed to think positively again and to move forward in spite of current world events. And to count my blessings,

    With so much gratitude and wishing you continued good health,

  7. I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Like you, it is stage one. Sometimes I forget I have cancer, does that make sense? All of a sudden things are happening so fast. I have 2 doctors appointments in two days of each other and an MRI. I have only told a few and do not want my parents and a few family members to know. My parents are elderly and have issues of their own. I am over whelmed. I have 2 sons in the military and do not want to burden them but want them to be there. Your thoughts.

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