Saturday, April 11, 2009


Tomorrow is Easter, so our thoughts turn to the subject of rebirth. Some religions believe in reincarnation; that concept exists in many cultures throughout the centuries. In addition to the religious concept of rebirth, I have found that cancer does lead to your own personal "rebirth".

From the moment you are diagnosed, you assume a new identity: you are now a person with cancer. You have become part of a greater community which you never wanted to join; from this point on, your life is irrevocably changed. You will confront your own fragility and mortality; it will be thrust upon you, in a whirlwind of thoughts and fears.

If you can manage to see something negative as also having a positive aspect, you can see your treatment path as a kind of journey toward this "rebirth". The road to the end of treatment is challenging, scary, and exhausting: it will change you both physically and mentally. You will never see things the same way again.

When you reach the point when you're on your "maintenance" treatment path, you are experiencing a kind of rebirth. Your life, with the help and caring of so many wonderful and dedicated individuals, has literally been given back to you. It is up to you to find joy in yourself, cherish being alive, and concentrate on living the rest of your life as the person who you really are, not just a "cancer patient". You are now so much more than your disease, and you have a new life.