Most cancer patients focus on simply coping with the trauma of their diagnosis and treatments. Some turn their attention to fighting, battling and winning against cancer. But Cancer Thrivers work towards healing from cancer. In the process, they embrace and create a new way of life, which we call ‘The New Normal’.
Coming to terms with cancer
“Am I going to die?”
“How much time do I have?”
“I will battle cancer. I will conquer it.”
These are common questions after the devastating cancer diagnosis. The pendulum of emotions swings from shock to self-pity to fear to the will to survive. And yet, somewhere deep down, there may be a voice that equates cancer with death.
This is not surprising considering the scary survival statistics. It is true that more than 50% of people diagnosed with cancer will die within 5 years. However, these statistics bury the stories of thousands of people who not only survive, but go on to thrive. Cancer thrivers become symbols and role-models of determination, hope, new beginnings and transformation. So what do these cancer thrivers do differently?
Cancer Thrivers: Who Are They?
Most people who get cancer consider it to be a curse. Whereas the small minority – the cancer thrivers – are able to see it as a blessing. In fact, they turn it into a springboard personal growth and self-transcendence. Cancer thrivers very quickly get past the basic ‘why me’ questions and start enquiring into the significance of cancer in their lives.
During the journey, they continue to look for deeper meaning. They become curious about the bigger and more fundamental questions: What is the larger meaning of cancer? Why does cancer exist in the first place? How does cancer fit into nature’s (or God’s) greater plan?
5 Things That Cancer Thrivers Do
Cancer thrivers think and also behave quite differently, compared to other cancer patients. Our research shows that cancer thrivers take these 5 common steps. We invite you to do the same!
1. Reclaim your power
In the early days of cancer journey, it is natural for you be vulnerable and fragile. So you may hand over your power to your doctors, family and even your spiritual teacher. But at some stage, to become a cancer thriver, you must reclaim that power. If you don’t take charge of your life and your healing, you will only live your life on other people’s terms, not yours.
2. Take the fork-in-the-road
Society prefers to view cancer as a random and unfortunate event, a ‘bump in the road.’ We view cancer as a ‘fork-in-the-road.’ This fork points you in a new direction. It helps you move away from the comfortable but stifling notions of normalcy and of life as you have always known it. Instead, you can create ‘The New Normal’ as your path towards growth and transformation.
3. Access inner resources
There is no dearth of information about cancer but much of it is contradictory and confusing. It is hard to find relevant and high-quality insights. The bigger challenge, of course, is to apply those insights to yourself. This calls for looking within, rather than searching outside. Further, you must find the inner resources to confront the most difficult aspects of yourself.
4. Focus on quality of life
While most people are obsessed with quantity of life, cancer thrivers focus on quality. They identify their life’s deepest, unfulfilled desires and fulfill them; they seek out their life’s unfinished business and finish it. Surprisingly, research says that those who focus on living well tend to live longer.
5. Offer your experience in service of others
Experiencing cancer forces you to confront your own mortality. At the same time, it also reconnects you with your own humanity. And when this happens, it quite naturally evokes a deep compassion towards the suffering of others. Cancer thrivers are able to convert such compassion into concrete actions that serve others. It rarely matters to them whether a single individual or many thousands benefit … their commitment and passion to self-less service are important.
Will You Stand Among Cancer Thrivers?
Cancer thrivers demonstrate that it is possible to transform the life-threatening cancer challenge into a life-changing experience. And more importantly, you can learn, internalise and practice these approaches on your own. Or you can seek the expert guidance of one of our SHERPAs, and sign up for the THRIVER program.
Either way, we hope and pray that you will commit yourself to a new life after cancer, to ‘The New Normal’
- How can you take the first steps to becoming a cancer thriver, instead of seeing yourself as a victim … or even a survivor?
- What do you need to do to accept your situation? How can you learn to let go?
- How does each new day enrich your learnings about yourself and about life?
- Review your key lifestyle habits. What changes or improvements can you make?
- In what way can your cancer experience help you to give back to society?
Nothing can prepare you for the cancer journey. But advice from someone who have been there and done that can certainly make you better informed. You can watch the Cancer Awakens video series here and read the articles here.
Excellent video Vijay & Nilima. I have always appreciated and was awed by the sincere passion you both demonstrate towards this chosen cause and also in living what you preach.
I am sure for many people it helped change their attitude towards cancer. Generally, you have also removed that terrible fear we have towards cancer disease.
Wishing you the best for more innovation in this line.
I have always been a fan of both of you.
Ex- SG, BLR
Hi Raji: Good to hear from you … and thanks for your kind words. I remember fondly, the work we did together in B’lore. Let’s stay in touch. Cheers, Vijay.