Each person with cancer has a unique walk down the cancer path. Each person’s experience is different. Here are seven great tips from cancer survivors.

Let your friends and family help, that is how they want to show they care for you!
Mountain trail race runner Jess Gockley was devastated when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Her first thought was ‘I am never going to be able to run again’. But this cancer survivor did not lose heart. She started running soon after her surgery and after 14 months she was able to complete the Masanutten Mountain Trail 100 mile race in 33 minutes. That’s a huge achievement!

In her words – “Looking back now, my quick recovery is nothing short of a miracle. I couldn’t have done it without trusting God and letting all my friends and family help me during my recovery time. I’m the type of person – and I know some of you are just like me – I like to do everything myself and I don’t like asking for help. Words of advice…let your friends and family help; that is how they want to show they care for you!”

Celebrate every accomplishment.
Jess Gockley also believes celebrating small things can help cancer survivors ‘jump over’ hurdles in life without too much pain and disappointment. She says, “Take the time to celebrate every accomplishment you have along your road to recovery. It doesn’t matter if it’s being able to get out of bed or the chair without assistance, walking from the couch to the fridge without getting out of breath, getting full range of motion and strength back in your arm after surgery, walking around your neighborhood or running your first 5k. It’s important for all of us after surgery to celebrate the small things so that when the hurdles come…we can jump over them too without too much pain and disappointment. Keep in mind that every roadblock you may encounter, may be an opportunity to open a new door elsewhere.”

Be physically active as much as possible. Start soon.
“Words of advice after surgery…start moving as quickly as possible!  I know the last thing you feel like doing is moving after surgery, but believe me it helped me recover so much faster!  I had surgery first thing in the morning and I was walking the hallway late that evening.  I use the song What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger by Kelly Clarkson as my motto. So, where am I today? In March, I had my one year checkup and all my tests were clear (praise God).” – Jess Gockley

Lead a full and active life while living with cancer.
This is the motto of Susan Anderson, a breast cancer survivor and an awareness advocate. She does not like the word survivor. ‘How about winner?’ she says. She was diagnosed with Infiltrative Ductal Carcinoma breast cancer in 1999. In late 2004 she developed type-2 diabetes, and in 2013 she was diagnosed with stage-4 chronic kidney disease. But she is determined to live well despite all the obstacles she had been dealt.

“At the heart of the story is the idea of LIVING with cancer. It took eight years to correctly diagnose my rare disease, Carcinoid/ Neuroendocrine Tumors. Then, they said I would die in just a few more years. That was 18 years ago, and here I am! How have I fared? Very well.”

Don’t accept what any one person says. Trust your gut.
Jackie Gregory’s carcinoid journey was from desperation to a renewed belief in human spirit. She was told she had a small bowel loop obstruction with advanced carcinomatosis (intestine cancer). She was told she could not live with the condition and there was nothing that could be done medically or surgically to fix the problem. The doctors said they would manage her pain and try to stabilize her and she would succumb to this in weeks. But her husband Jeffrey held his wife in a moment of hopelessness, and told her, ‘This is one person saying this. We are not giving up.’ He searched and contacted other oncologists and experts. At last two surgeons contradicted the prognosis and Jackie was fast tracked to surgery, and now she has a viable treatment plan and many years ahead of her.

“Don’t accept what any one person says. Trust your gut. Seek those specialists that you will trust and believe in,” advises Jeffrey.

Remember that your purpose has been set in this life.
Coral Levang was diagnosed with stage IV gastrointestinal carcinoid syndrome that metastasized to the liver in April 2012. Doctors told her she had a year to live. But this diagnosis did not deter her. She has hope. “And may I always remember that my purpose has been set in this life – to inspire others to see beyond the challenges they face in this lifetime,” she says. Having served in the military for 15 years, she has now dedicated her time to military personnel separating from the military offering advice and inspiration from her own experience. This cancer survivor is blogging. ‘What changes are you making in your life?  In your business?  I’m curious!!’ she asks her readers.

Cancer is not an automatic death sentence. Have an optimistic view.
Winner of many journalism and television awards, Sam Donaldson is a 17-year survivor of deadly skin cancer. Sam believes one’s attitude plays an important part in the recovery. Cancer is not an automatic death sentence,’ he says. ‘I don’t think an optimistic attitude cures cancer, but I do believe that if you can concentrate on the fact that you’re going to live — not die — it helps.’

Carcinoid.org, (2014). Jess Gockley: Celebrate Every Accomplishment. The Carcinoid Cancer Foundation.

Carcinoidinfo.info, (2014). My story.

Carcinoid.org, (2014). Jackie’s Carcinoid Journey: From Desperation to a Renewed Belief in the Human Spirit. The Carcinoid Cancer Foundation.

North West Guardian (November 20, 2012). Courageous ACAP worker defines ‘selfless’.

Nlm.nih.gov, (2014). Sam Donaldson: Tips From a Cancer Survivor

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