How Cancer Changed My Mindset

My name is Donna Fox and I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma in January of 2008. My cancer has returned six more times.

How has it affected my mindset and outlook on life? That’s a tough question to which there is no simple answer. I was shocked by my original diagnosis as I had no obvious symptoms despite a three and 1/2 lb. tumor growing inside me. At the time there was no chemotherapy or radiation to treat kidney cancer. There was a clinical trial, but the potential side effects frightened, me so I declined.

I never said “why me” and I guess I believe it certainly could be me so I spent time communicating with family and friends and trying to keep normalcy in my life. I didn’t want my life to be different post cancer but as for my outlook….I began to take stock of what I was doing and where I was going and decided to just keep it simple. I really did not change many things in my life and after I recovered from the surgery I felt fine so getting back to “normal” was not difficult. I never used the words “new normal.”

I enthusiastically became a member of a cancer support group which was the best thing I ever did. We all had different cancer diagnoses but the fears and the feelings were the same. There was such joy and laughter in that group that I could not be sad or hopeless. 

Because my cancer has returned so many times with five additional surgeries and one cyberKnife treatment I value each day. I try, desperately I might add, to surround myself with positive people which is not always easy. I hold on to my spiritual beliefs and laugh whenever I can and bring joy to those around me whenever I can.

I have no idea what the future or the next set of CT scans will show but I do know this……I will continue to be me plain and simple and laugh when I can because to me laughter is the best!

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