Intuitive Psychologist, Susan Barbara Apollon




The Lessons of Cancer

You know that cancer can be a wake-up call that prompts you to live a healthier, more meaningful life. It can also be an invaluable teacher. Here are some lessons that my patients and I have learned during our cancer journeys:

  • Cancer teaches you to love yourself. Before your diagnosis, you may have habitually put the needs of others before your own. (In fact, many of my cancer patients are diagnosed after acting as a caregiver for another for a prolonged period of time.) Now, though, taking care of yourself--in other words, self-love--must become your priority.

    When you love yourself enough to fight for survival, you will find that you have the strength to push through pain and treatments. And knowing that you have that deep reserve of inherent power will bolster your resiliency and your appreciation of who you are. In the future, your strengthened sense of self-love may enable you to say "no," to more confidently speak the truth, and to unashamedly seek out the things that make you happy and healthy.

  • Cancer teaches forgiveness. Part of loving yourself is accepting yourself unconditionally. And that means forgiving yourself and others for grievances and other issues you have been carrying with you, perhaps for a lifetime. For instance, if you have blamed yourself for not achieving a certain dream or goal, cancer might be the catalyst for making peace with the past, along with putting an end to viewing yourself as a "failure."

  • Cancer teaches you to clarify and value your relationships. So often, patients tell me that the people they thought might be there for them in their time of need weren't, but that other unexpected individuals stepped up to support, help, and assist them in numerous ways. Similarly, you can expect cancer to help you determine who your true, most committed friends are.

    Due to your inner guidance, you'll probably feel the desire to gravitate toward these people who believe in you and are working with you toward survival. And as you'll no doubt understand, you will realize that the individuals in whose energy field you feel safe and wonderful are truly invaluable.

  • Cancer teaches you what is and isn't important. As I have alluded to before, cancer causes you to evaluate what's working in your life and what isn't. (That includes your relationships, your living environment, your work-life balance, your activities, your priorities, and more.) Because cancer is such an overwhelming foe, you will instinctively want to clear out unnecessary debris that is no longer necessary or that is preventing you from finding a healthy balance.

  • Cancer teaches you to be responsible for yourself (and only yourself). Except for the very young and the very old, most of us should claim responsibility for ourselves. If you feel that others' well-being and circumstances depend on you, it's likely that cancer will alter this mindset. Since you're embarking on a full-time job of loving and caring for yourself, you may be required to pull back from family members and friends who expect you to care for them. In reality, you have been allowing them to draw your life-force away from you, and cancer will be the catalyst for pushing them to reclaim their own lives as well.

  • Cancer teaches you that each moment is precious. This concept might be somewhat clichéd, but that's because it's true! Cancer lights a fire underneath you, because suddenly you are aware that you may not have all the time you'd once thought you did. I encourage you to act on each impulse to spend time with a loved one, to pursue a heartfelt desire, and to live out all the dreams you can. By choosing to make the most of each moment--and to not focus on the list of passionless obligations you have imposed on yourself--you'll feel happy and your brain will produce the chemicals your immune system needs to fight your cancer.

  • Cancer teaches you to heal spiritually and psychologically. Cancer teaches you unequivocally what you have control over and what you don't. More specifically, it teaches you that while you may not have control over what happens to you, you do have control over how you handle those circumstances. If you choose to pursue a positive attitude and to live your life passionately, you can heal and restore balance to your mind, body, and soul.




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