Cancer And The Human Spirit: How Positive Thoughts Can Help Heal


During the difficult cancer journey, it’s very easy to slip into self-pity and give up on life. But it’s the positive attitude that can keep you going. Let us understand the connection between cancer and the human spirit.

“The human spirit is stronger than anything that happens to it” – C.C.Scott

Head or Heart?

The constant debate (even dispute!) between the heart-soul and the brain-mind goes on. If we are faced with a problem, it shouldn’t be too hard for our brain to send the right signals to the heart to lower our rising heart beat, so we can compose ourselves and find a solution. But that is not how it works!

The heart-soul does not care for concepts or theories or experiments, it is all about emotions, feelings and meaning.

American author, Robert S. Schuller, once said “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive, to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.”

Nintendo Master, a story of hope

I read this story called “Nintendo Master” by Katie Gill from “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II” and it left me thinking. We can all get ‘bookish’ knowledge from learned authors, but often, what influences us most are the people we meet, the conversations we have and the moments we share.

Katie’s story is about two children with cancer and how one’s spirit to live and thrive, despite all odds inspires the other. I hope it touches your soul as much like it touched mine!

I met another child like me, with cancer

When I first saw you, I thought: Nintendo master. There was this intensity about you. Your piercing blue eyes and the way your hands moved rapidly along the control buttons were subtle hints of your expert skill.

You didn’t appear too different from all the other video-crazed teens out there, but you were. Was it because we were both stuck in the oncology ward of the hospital, cruelly betrayed by the normality with which you tried to present yourself? Or maybe it was because we were prematurely robbed of the innocence of childhood, and it comforted me to know that there was someone else out there just like me. I can only speculate, but all I know is that I was drawn to your energy and zest for life.

Trying to bear the excruciating pain in my hips post-surgery

That was the summer of my first post-cancer surgeries. The doctors were trying to fix my left hip joint, which had shattered under the intense bombardments of chemotherapy treatments. It wasn’t the only thing that had shattered. I had misplaced my usual optimistic attitude about life and was surprised at how nasty I could be. This did not endear me to anyone in my presence.

My surgery had gone “well” the doctors said, but I was in excruciating pain.

If you can walk, so can I

I saw you again in physical therapy, realizing only then that the extent of what cancer had done to you. I wanted to scream, “Let him go back upstairs and play his video games, you idiots!” but I just sat there in stunned silence. I watched you get up and start walking with the aid of the parallel bars. Prior to your entering the room, I had been sitting in my wheel chair, wallowing in self pity. “Wasn’t the cancer enough? Now my hip is screwed up, and I really don’t care anymore. If I get up, it is going to kill me” I was convinced.    

Nintendo Master, you’re my hero

You will never know me, but you are my hero, Nintendo master. With such courage and poise, you got up on your one remaining leg. Some might have the audacity to call you disabled or even crippled, but you are more complete than many can ever wish to be. After you had your walk for the day, a walk that was perfectly executed on your part, and you were safely tucked into your bed and were enjoying your video games once again, I decided that it was about time that I get up and take a walk myself.

You see, Nintendo master, it dawned on me that you innately knew what it takes most of us a lifetime to grasp:

Life is like a game, you can’t win them all and yet the game goes on, forcing all to play it.

Nintendo master, you play it better that most!


  • Look around and see, from where can you draw your inspiration to live and thrive after cancer?
  • How can you overcome the challenges that cancer has posed for you? And how can you be an inspiration for other survivors and thrivers?


Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II


Smit Zaveri is a a student of Communications at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore. She loves reading and writing. Says Smit “Writing for Cancer Awakens has been a great experience for me and I am proud to be associated with this worthy initiative.”


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