Dan

Wednesday 2nd October 2019

Since 2016, my life has revolved around cancer, whether that’s being in the hospital for treatment, or check-ups when I was in remission. But cancer does not and has never defined me. 

My body and my fitness are something that I take pride in; it was a kick in the teeth to find out, even though I had the all clear at the end of 2016 and was the healthiest I’ve ever been, cancer still does not discriminate.

Finding out you have cancer, no matter the circumstance, is always going to be difficult. You just have to find your own way to cope.

What helps me most is exercise and healthy living. I find that doing my best to keep my body as healthy as I can helps me to feel more in control of my disease. Cancer leaves you feeling out of control in so many ways and even the little things, like eating healthy, help me to feel like I have some control over what is happening to my body.

Just the chemo drug itself can change the way you look, hair loss being the main factor, but I feel there are other ways as well. I notice that my face feels puffy and skin gets paler and dry, but I just remind myself that it is just part of the process and as soon as you accept this the easier it gets. It is temporary, it will go back to normal.

I tell myself: no one’s going to give you a hard time but yourself. You are always going to have highs and lows, and you have to remember that there are many drugs working their way in and out of your system to mess up how you are feeling.

Don’t let the way you feel some days bring your whole attitude down, think of it as a journey. This is just another journey that you have to go in in your life to learn and come out the other side better than before.

What advice do I give to myself to help me through this journey?

Find something. Find something that I can enjoy and grow with. Cancer is going to hit me like a train, and I have no way of moving out of the way, I’m going to get hit. But it’s what I do after that, that determines how my outlook on the rest of my journey will be. 

Finding something that can help motivate me, the thing that I can grab hold of and say this is why I can get through this part of my life, is so important. For me, now, that’s CrossFit. Finding that thing that is massively beneficial, what ever that may be, just make it something that gets you out of bed and moving, that’s what I tell myself.

It takes my thoughts away from cancer and to a happy place, where I don’t have to think about my treatment or anything cancer related, it’s just me and the workout. 

I make sure my family and friends know that I don’t want to be wrapped up in bubble wrap. I want to keep being treated like me, and not the version of me that has cancer. I tell myself and all my family and friends, that cancer is not all doom and gloom, it’s a part of life and you will learn and grow from it. 

While it might take me some time to get there, I just remember that there is a finish line, I will cross it and I will come out the other side stronger. Having a good mind set, that is one of the most beneficial things you can do. 

Don’t let cancer ruin more than just your physical health. Let your friends help you, let your family help you and most of all, don’t keep all your emotions bottled up. Because at some point you are going to explode, let your loved ones share you burden. And while this is something that is an individual illness, do not try to do it alone.