Things I Know for Sure this Cancer Survivors Month



*Editor’s Note: June is National Cancer Survivors Month, and Ambry Genetics will be celebrating cancer survivors as well as their families and communities by sharing their inspiring stories.


Although part of me wants to forget, I hear the whispers every day. As a cancer survivor of 4 ½ years, June is a special month that commemorates cancer survivors all over the country. Cancer Survivors Month seems both celebratory—honoring men and women who have survived a ravaging disease, yet dispiriting that we need a day to celebrate the survivorship of an epidemic that takes the lives of so many.

Most survivors will agree that life becomes grouped into two categories: “Before Cancer” and “After Cancer.” Sometimes I look back at photos from the former and I think, “Look at me then…I had no idea that cells inside my body would soon divide, multiply and wreak havoc on my body…I was so worry-free and naïve about life back then.”

Being forced to have a new perspective turns out to be cancer’s gift: the fresh perspective that precipitates a deeper understanding of how precious life is. Priorities change for the better, and the lens that we view life through is wider in scope. Recognizing the importance of loving relationships, family, health and friends comes as a byproduct of a brush with death.

As a Survivor, I also know:

  • I can get through anything that comes my way.
  • I have strength within me that I can draw upon whenever I need it.
  • I take care of myself and ensure my health always comes first.
  • I say “yes” only to the commitments I know I can take on and will benefit my overall well-being.
  • I balance how much socializing I do so I have enough time to rest.
  • I make it a point to take a time-out during each day to pray, meditate or rest.
  • I listen to my body and get to the doctor whenever there is a question about a specific creak, pain or ailment.
  • I honor and value my body each and every day, giving thanks for all it does for me and its miraculous functionality.
  • I eat as healthy as I can and uphold additional integrative options such as a vitamin regimen, acupuncture and massage.
  • I listen intently to my gut and what my intuition is saying—this “knowing” helps me with my decision making.
  • I bring myself back to the present moment as often as I can because it’s the only moment we have.
  • I kiss my 5, 8 and 9 year old daughters—a lot.
  • I slow my pace down to smell the roses.
  • I have more patience with my husband and my anger fuse is longer. (Hmm…would he agree? Inquiring minds want to know!)
  • I exercise my body through a variety of ways—yoga, strength, walking, fitness and dance.
  • I diligently schedule and keep track of each cancer check-up, and if I get nervous I make my appointment a week earlier so I don’t lose sleep.
  • I eat chocolate and drink wine on the day I wait for the result about my cancer test check-up.
  • I celebrate each time a test comes back clean.
  • I am more gentle with myself and less critical.
  • I pray for each person I hear about who has recently been diagnosed and wonder often about the mystery of this disease—who gets it, who survives, who dies.
  • I give thanks to companies like Ambry Genetics whose goals include researching and uncovering the answers and ultimately, the cures.

To all of those sharing in the June celebration of Cancer Survivors Month, I salute you! Here’s to living each day with depth and breadth because life is truly a gift.


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