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5 Things Cancer Gave Me

Updated: Dec 15, 2022


Doctor's hands on table facing cancer patient

Let's not kid ourselves, getting a cancer diagnosis is shit and I'm not here to pretend it isn't. But I do believe I got some positive things from the experience and I wanted to share them in the hope it may help someone who needs some positive in their life today.


My cancer flavour was ovarian and Ovarian Cancer Australia have provided me with professional support post treatment. One of these professionals is working with me to keep an eye on mental health following treatment and in this week's session she asked what I had learnt about myself.


I think the standard response would be "I learnt how strong I am", but in all honesty I already knew I was pretty strong as I had to deal with some pretty tricky things in the 42 years before I got cancer.


We moved onto what positives I could take from the experience. This was harder as cancer took many things from me (most of my hair, my reproductive system, 9 months of my life and a chunk of my savings) but this conversation got me thinking about what positives have come out of this experience and I wanted to share them here.


This is my experience and not everyone will have the same outcomes and many people may not be able to see any positives ... and that is totally understandable. As I said - cancer is shit.


  1. Appreciation for my partner. I started seeing Ze German (real name Nick but Ze German is more fun) in May 2021, 3 months later I found out I had tumours on my ovaries. He stood by me from the moment we found out and hasn't wavered since. When most new couples would still be in the honeymoon phase we were attending hospital appointments together, arguing over wearing compression stockings and debating what concoction was best to keep my bowels moving after my hysterectomy. I knew he was a fun guy to hang out with, but cancer showed me what a great person he truly is. He still drives me nuts leaving wet towels on the floor and asking me 10 times a day where he's left things (hello ADHA) but I know he's a strong man who will stand by me when I need him.

  2. New Friends The cancer club is a crappy club to be in but it has some amazing people in it. During my treatment I have met some amazing women who are either battling or have battled cancer. They are strong, funny and empathic women who have made this experience a little easier. Some I have met in real life and some are online friends, but they have all given me something positive in this experience and are the people who truly understand what this is like. I also realised how amazing some of my 'pre-cancer' friends & family are. I appreciate them all so much for all the little and big things they have done to get me through this. Sending thoughtful gifts, my parents travelling halfway across the world to be with me, old colleagues texting to say they are thinking of me, everyone cheering me on from the sidelines, my good friend leaving the house in the middle of feeding her kids to come over when I was having a meltdown, new and old friends coming to celebrate with me at the end of chemo. This all means so much and I will forever be grateful for the love I received during this time.

  3. No periods I love not having any periods. I don't know how, but I managed to get to 42 and still be surprised EVERY month and not be prepared. Even after having periods for 28 years, so over 360 of the buggers, I still managed to bleed through tampons, forget I had one & insert another, cover the bed in blood or have to resort to bundled up loo roll as I forgot to take tampons with me AGAIN. I do not miss them at all.

  4. Love for the small things in life Facing your own mortality through a cancer diagnosis has the ability to alter the way you look at life. Although I was told from the first oncology appointment that my cancer was treatable and the outlook was good, I still had moments of Googling the worst and wondering if I would make it through. This has given me a real appreciation on the small things in life and I love things I may have taken for granted before. Sunsets, snorkeling off a Queensland Island, dinner with friends, spending time with my friend's kids or even just being able to go to the gym all mean something more to me now.

  5. An excuse to do ALL the fun things now I'm not going to wait until I'm retired to travel, I'm not going to waste my life working full time in a job I don't love. Since finishing treatment I've set myself up working part time in a job that allows me to travel when I want and to dedicate time to things that bring me joy (like helping others through this site). Facing ovarian cancer has taught me tomorrow isn't promised so I'm making the most of now.

Feel free to add the things that cancer has given you in the comments.


If you find yourself needing to talk to someone after reading this article you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or The Cancer Council on 13 11 20


 

Mental Health Support for Life After Cancer

These are the products that helped me exercise during treatment.



What the F*ck Just Happened?

A Survivor's Guide to Life After Breast Cancer



Click to purchase




The Cancer Survivor Handbook

Your Guide to Building a Life After Cancer


Click to purchase

Support Resources

Cancer Council Australia

CCA an organisation to support all Australians affected by cancer through support, research and prevention programs.


Ovarian Cancer Australia

OCA is an independent national not-for-profit organisation, supporting women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Our focus is to provide care and support for those affected by ovarian cancer; and represent them by leading change. Our vision is to save lives and ensure no woman with ovarian cancer walks alone.


Breast Cancer Network Australia

BCNA Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) is Australia’s leading breast cancer consumer organisation. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that all Australians who are affected by breast cancer receive the very best care, treatment and support.


Bowel Cancer Australia

BCA Peer-to-Peer Support Network connects patient’s and loved ones on a one-to-one buddy basis that enables members to give and receive advice about their bowel cancer experience in an informal and mutually beneficial way.


Leukaemia Foundation

LF is a support service for patients and supporters dealing with blood cancers.


*FU Cancer is supported by its audience. If you choose to purchase through the links on our site we may receive an affiliate commission. This goes towards paying our expenses plus a percentage of our monthly profit goes towards directly helping people with cancer. If you know someone who could do with a boost during their cancer treatment please let us know here.



*FU Cancer is supported by its audience. If you choose to purchase through the links on our site we may receive an affiliate commission. This goes towards paying our expenses plus a percentage of our monthly profit goes towards directly helping people with cancer. If you know someone who could do with a boost during their cancer treatment please let us know here.





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