Read more about Mary’s cancer journey HERE , HERE and HERE.

I don’t know anyone diagnosed with cancer who wasn’t angry, disturbed, fearful, negative, frustrated,…at some point in their journey. I was so inwardly upset and stressed shortly after my cancer diagnosis, I went to urgent care a few days later with severe spasms in my neck.

What did I do with my negative feelings? I did not want them to lead to a sense of hopeless despair. My years of working in the nursing profession showed me the differences in people, how they handled their illnesses/injuries and how their attitudes affected their recoveries or how they lived with a chronic condition.

match me

Following is a list of things that helped “adjust my attitude”:

  • Early in my cancer journey, I had a few good friends who were cancer survivors, who stood by my side and gave me a great deal of encouragement.  My husband was extremely supportive as well.
  • Later I joined a women’s cancer support group, an amazing group of ladies who made me realize I was not alone as our feelings and experiences were shared in confidence.
  • My spiritual faith played a huge part in giving me strength I never knew I had. Prayer was very comforting to me, both my own prayer and knowing that others were praying for me. Many times my prayers consisted of only one word: either “help” or “thanks.”
  • I sought peace and solace in the outdoors, hiking and kayaking, sometimes with others and other times alone. There are times when I cherish solitude.
  • After my cancer treatments I joined a survivor’s group called DEFEAT cancer, which continued to give me hope, knowledge and the fighting-cancer attitude. I met many amazing people through this supportive group.
  • I still get angry at cancer, at times, when I learn that a friend or loved one has been diagnosed.  I let “cancer” know how I feel, by expressing my anger at the disease, like just yelling “I HATE CANCER” and having a good cry.  I am not the type of person who yells very often, but it’s amazing how this helps me.  Once I get the anger off my chest I can call on that person and support them.

mary k kayak

A kayak and a pole – one of life’s best attitude adjustments.