Thinking Back on My Cancer Journey–Sharing with Others is the Greatest Benefit

CancerHits_cvr_7.28.11_lowresAt the beginning of my book, When Cancer Hits, I talk about how I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease when I was sixteen years old. I had no idea at the time what a huge impact it would have on my life. I was young, strong, and carefree. I would fix the cancer and move on.

But then cancer put a stop to my normal teenage existence. I lost my hair, developed extremely dry skin, and looked puffy because of the medications I was taking. The other kids felt sorry for me, and changed how they acted toward me. It was all very confusing, and even when it was over and the doctors told me the cancer was gone, I still didn’t quite know how to adapt, or even who I was anymore.

Looking back now, all these years later, I’m so grateful for everything I went through. After I put my experiences down in my book for others to read, I learned there are many of us out there going through the same type of challenges. What’s extremely rewarding is that some of those people are finding my experience helpful.

Sharing with Others

When we go through a difficult experience, the one thing we come away with is knowledge. We learn how to cope with things we didn’t know how to cope with before. What else can we do then but share that knowledge?

“I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer,” says Amazon reviewer Susan Sideri. “I learned so much from this book about taking care of myself and I have approached my chemo treatments and fight with a whole different outlook. This book changed my outlook from the first sentence! Everyone needs to read When Cancer Hits.”

It’s true that we need to be educated to take care of ourselves. This is one thing I learned while going through cancer. When you have it, your number-one job is getting well. That means you must turn your attention toward your body, mind, and spirit, because they all work together to beat the disease. Meanwhile, they’re all assaulted by the cancer and the treatments, so we really have to focus our attention on shoring up our defenses.

“When people hear the ‘cancer’ word they often assume the worst,” says Gail. “The scariest part is the fear of the unknown. This book did a great job of helping me understand what to expect every step of the way from the time that you are diagnosed to the side effect that you can expect from the various treatment options. Your book is the first book that really did change my life.

Surviving the Change

I talk in my book about how cancer changes you. I had always been so proud of my long, dark hair, and during my chemo treatments, most of it fell out. I realized then that my personal image was really tied to my appearance. The boys weren’t noticing me as much anymore. Was I worthless if I didn’t look a certain way?

“If there’s one thing that Britta will make the reader fully understand is how battling cancer impacts every facet of one’s life,” says Brian E. Erland. “When it comes to keeping up your strength and remaining emotionally positive absolutely everything is significant. Honestly I can’t think of anything that the author has failed to include. `When Cancer Hits’ is the book that everyone prays they’ll never need but should certainly own just in case.”

I found out that cancer has a way of stripping everything down to its naked reality, and we must face what can seem a stark, unattractive, and strange reflection.

“’When Cancer Hits’ is a one of a kind guide for anyone dealing with cancer,” says Taylor. “Not only is there a myriad of imperative information and a plethora of resources, Britta Aragon’s empathy for what it is like to deal with this disease first hand is an invaluable tool in making one feel like they are not alone in their own personal struggle with cancer. I would highly recommend this book to anyone affected by cancer, it is a comprehensive guide that will leave you more informed and in control of your situation.”

My Efforts to Give Back—What Do You Think?

Those of you who are familiar with me and this blog will know that cancer made its biggest impact on me not when I went through it, but when my father did. Having someone we love battle this difficult disease is one of the biggest challenges any of us will ever face. I lost my father to cancer, but not before I saw him fight with a courage I had never witnessed. His experience is the reason I started Cinco Vidas and CV Skinlabs—in the hope that through my work, I might give meaning to what he went through.

Whether you’re living with cancer, a cancer survivor, or a caregiver, or even if you just want to do everything you can to prevent cancer, I trust you’ll come to the same realization I did: We can boost our immune systems, help ourselves feel better during treatment, and take positive steps to reduce our risk of recurrence.

If you’ve just been diagnosed, don’t despair. You’re not alone. There are so many of us on this journey. Cancer helped me realize how precious life is, and that we should be doing more to protect it.

Whether or not you read my book, I hope that everyone reading this post will take new steps, starting today, toward tender and gentle self-care. In the end, the best friend we have is staring us in the mirror. Be kind to yourself, and that good energy will naturally flow out to others. No matter what your fate, remember that you deserve to enjoy the highest quality of life possible—starting today!

“When Cancer Hits” is available at Cinco Vidas and on Amazon.

Have you read When Cancer Hits? What did you think?

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