themighty logo

17 Resolutions People Affected by Cancer Are Making in 2018

With the new year right around the corner, some people choose to make resolutions. For those of us who have been touched by cancer, whether directly or through a loved one, these resolutions aren’t always about exercising or taking on more hobbies. Many of us simply want to resolve to heal after the cancer experience.

Some people don’t want to make any resolutions at all, and that’s OK, too. Whatever you choose to do in the new year, do it in a way that works best for you — both physically and emotionally.

We asked our Mighty cancer community what their New Year’s resolutions are for 2018. Here’s what they had to say.

Currently Diagnosed With Cancer

1. Shalene G., Thyroid Cancer

Shalene Galbraith photo

“Regardless of my January cancer scan results, I have resolved to create: to create more laughter, more tears, more mistakes, more healing, and more hope.”

2. Rebecca S., Metastatic Breast Cancer

Rebecca Scheinkman photo

“For someone newly diagnosed with cancer (especially a terminal cancer like mine is), I would make a 2018 New Year’s resolution to make sure to stay present in the little moments of life that most people take for granted, and not to get caught up in the little annoyances or drama of every day life.

In the long run, it doesn’t matter what somebody said on social media, how long you were stuck in traffic, or if you made an error on a big work project. Soak in the time spent sitting on the couch with family, getting coffee with friends, or taking a walk. Enjoy what it feels like to be happy, relaxed, and/or loved. Use those moments to help you get through the fear, loneliness, and isolation a cancer diagnosis can bring.”

Recovering From Cancer

3. Justin B., Testicular Cancer

“Prior to cancer, I was involved in about ten different side projects. I was like a dog chasing a ball (little did I know I was about to lose one). If something sounded like it would be a cool idea or help improve education, I went all in.

However, there are only 24 hours in a day. If I’m spending eight of them sleeping and another eight at work, that only leaves eight hours for cooking, exercise, and leisure time. The more projects I took on, the more quickly that eight hours of freedom dwindled down as I poured myself into more and more random endeavors. Because of this, I was neglecting my relationships and things that really matter, like my personal relationships and spending time with my cat (yes, I am a cat man).

About halfway through chemo, I realized this. I made the decision to walk away from nearly all of these projects, which seemed hard at the time, but now I am seeing the benefits. Ultimately, you get one shot at life (unless reincarnation is a thing, in which case I want to be a hawk or an eagle in my next life). I can’t spend all of my free time doing things that ultimately won’t have a lasting impact on my life while ignoring the people who love and support me.

I shifted focus — instead of doing many random projects, I committed to doing one, and doing it well. This project is testicular cancer awareness blog entitled “A Ballsy Sense of Tumor.” Since testicular cancer is so underrepresented and rarely discussed in society, I realized this project has a true purpose and was necessary, both for myself and for others who might read the blog. While the other projects were fun, they had no lasting impression upon me as a person. ABSOT could be my life’s work.

As a cancer survivor, my resolution is to continue focusing my time and energy on what matters to me, and doing it well. No more diverting energy and effort into projects I am only sort of passionate about — it’s about finding what drives me and feeding that. Along with this, I’m committed to continue focusing on the people in my life who supported me when I was at my lowest. ”

4. Annmarie O., Breast Cancer

Annmarie Otis breast cancer surgery photo

“I have never been a fan of resolutions — always felt like they get broken so fast. Then cancer swept into my life and I realized I needed them. Just today my husband and I were talking about laughter. Simply laughing every day in spite of what life is dealing out, regardless of the side effects or pain. A little laughter.

Five years ago, when I was wheeled off to my mastectomy, my husband made me laugh just when I needed it. We clearly need a cure and to stop those from dying. That is a fact but through this all we need to find a moment in 2018 and laugh.

Even if it is just a moment, those are what I call ‘cancer free’ times. When we can laugh and let go for just a brief time. Forget the scars, the appointments, the neuropathy… and just laugh. Here is to some laughter in 2018, because we all need a little of that in our life.”

5. Joanne E., Ovarian Cancer

Joanne Elizabeth cancer photo

“I managed to complete my 2017 resolution, which was to finish chemo, but it came at a cost. My resolution for 2018 is to get a handle on the kidney issues I’ve developed.

I learned this year that my life will never be ‘normal’ after everything that’s happened. And I realized this year there’s not much out there for the world to see what life is like post-chemo. That it’s not like life goes back to what it was before my diagnosis. I’m always tired, I wear out quickly, my kidneys are struggling, I’m in constant pain and I live with the feeling always that the cancer is hiding somewhere deep inside, limiting my time. So, in 2018, I intend to share my story and help others see there is no ‘normal’ after diagnosis, and more needs to be done to help survivors. Also, more research funding needs to be given to prevent others from going through this.

It’s time to give back and figure out why I got this second chance, while still trying to get my health back under control.”

6. Jean C., Breast Cancer

Jean Cogavin photo

“I was diagnosed in March 2017 with breast cancer, a month after a visit to my GP on my birthday (happy birthday to me). In April, I had a lumpectomy and biopsy of the lymph nodes. In May, I had an axillary clearance. Roll onto July, and I had radiotherapy. An oncotype test revealed no chemo was needed only radiotherapy and tamoxifen for 10 years.

My gut instinct from the start told me it was cancer, but I wasn’t phased by it. I knew I would kick its ass! The way I looked at was I had, and have, too many things to do before I hang up my dancing shoes. I didn’t go to any support groups. I have been very lucky in having close friends to support me, plus I had wonderful friends who had gone through worse than I who advised, helped and guided me.

At each doctor’s visit I am reminded I am still in recovery even though I am doing well. I now have lymphedema. I wear a compression sleeve. It doesn’t bother me when people ask questions. It allows me to share something of my story; to empower others to make that appointment or just check themselves. Other health issues were a problem for me during this time: I have PMR, arthritis and asthma. Pain management was an issue but I found mindfulness worked.

Going forward, my resolution forever more is to start crossing things off my bucket list. It started in October of this year with a holiday to Las Vegas (booked last year, and, until July, I didn’t think I was going) and a trip to the Grand Canyon. Next year, New York is on this list, but Cyprus is now more appealing. I am committing myself to celebrating my birthday every year doing something for me that does not involve a GP or mammogram while #kickingcancersass #feelingoptimistic #beingpositive.” 

7. Pamela H., Breast Cancer

Pamela Harris with baby

“I need to get a better approach to dealing with the ‘What if it comes back?’ questions that sneak into my mind. I’m thinking of finding someone to talk to about this. It’s time to take care of me now that the cancer is gone.”

8. Nicole Y., Ovarian Cancer

Nicole Y photo

“I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May. My goal for next year is to find support from others who have been in similar situations, and to work on my fears. And I want to accomplish my goals of moving on with life, getting a job, finding a relationship and just moving on.”

9. Anupriya G., Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Anupriya Grover

“I have spent a lot of time obsessing over ‘Why me?,’ ‘Why did he leave?’ and Why am I in this position?’. I moved to a new city for a new start and it has been a fantastic experience. However, I am learning how to be alone again and how to love again — especially myself. I still have side effects and chronic pain from the chemo, but I’m using my new start in life to help myself battle those residual effects while enjoying my new lease on life.

I would like to stop asking questions I might never have answers to. In 2018, I would like to focus on helping other cancer patients get through their difficult time and focus on my work as a family doctor. I have a great professional opportunity, which is why I moved to this city in the first place.

I have a lot to offer my patients, especially after my experience, and instead of perseverating on personal questions and focusing only on myself, I would like to give back and show all those who supported me through my illness just how far I’ve come!”

10. Tina M., Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

Tina Mertens before after GTD

“Was just discharged as an ‘oncology patient’ after being in remission for one-and-a-half years after having GTD. My goal this year is to try and get pregnant!”

11. Mamie J., Ovarian Cancer

Mamie Johnson ovarian cancer survivor

“My New Year’s resolution is to live each day to its fullest. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer this past year on my 60th birthday, I put on my brave face and went to battle with rounds of chemo, surgery, a full hysterectomy and more chemo. In the beginning of my battle I was strong, but toward the end of chemo treatments my body was so weak. I had to make a choice to stop chemo — for a better quality of life — because from the chemo I got neuropathy.

Well, I beat cancer and I am in remission, but every day I wake up to pain and fall asleep with pain. I was lucky to have no more cancer, but the payback for that was neuropathy. So my battle continues, and it’s a battle of mind, body and soul. I choose to live life at its fullest.”

12. Bob M., Follicular Lymphoma

“As a patient, I want to keep learning about my cancer. There’s so much information online. I want to take the time to find out more about what I read — what might actually help me, what is just wishful thinking, or even what is a straight up lie. I want to be able to have an informed conversation with my doctor so I have some control over my treatment and my life.

As an advocate, I want to do what I can for other patients: providing information, emotional support, or just listening. There are so many places online where lymphoma patients gather with one another. I don’t want to just be the one asking questions or looking for support. I want to be the one giving, too.”

Lost a Loved One to Cancer

13. Shannon L., Bladder Cancer

Shannon Olivery Leyko pregnant and with mom

“As I remember my mom, who succumbed to bladder cancer in 2012, my resolution for 2018 is to always trust that there is good to come. I’m now pregnant with my mom’s first grandchild, and living a really beautiful, happy life. So through any hardships I face in 2018, I want to be resolute about keeping my heart open to a hopeful future even while facing difficulties in the present.”

14. Clarissa B., Ovarian Cancer

Clarissa Blanca Loterte and mother 2009

“From someone who lost two loved ones to cancer, I have three resolutions: 1. My priority is to make an effort to eat healthy, 2. Make sure to visit our family doctor regularly and 3. Read studies and research about the disease.”

15. Trish B., Lung Cancer

Dad Trish B and Harper

“As the cancer editor at The Mighty, there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about losing my father to stage 4 lung cancer in August 2016. It’s not easy editing and writing stories every day about a disease that took away my loved one, but I find comfort knowing there’s a community of people here who connect and help each other heal. My resolution is to continue to heal, and to do this by focusing more on the positive memories of my father, rather than the sad last days of his life. I think if I can do this, I will be that much stronger and better prepared to tell my now 2-year-old daughter in the future about the grandfather she barely knew.”

16. Katie C., Brain Cancer (Childhood Cancer)

Katie Caldwell and children

“I resolve in 2018 to try to live more in the current moment without allowing the magnitude of my loss to overshadow the present time I have with my other two children.”

17. John P., Proximal-Type Epithelioid Sarcoma, (Better Not Bitter Widower on Facebook)

John and Michelle Polo black and white

“I was so consumed by fear that we didn’t enjoy the moments. Granted, she was battling terminal cancer, so there weren’t a ton of moments to enjoy, but still. We didn’t enjoy the few that came along. The fear had such a devastating impact on my soul that I let it ruin the good times we could have had.

I’ve learned so much on this journey — as a husband, a stepfather and a widower. As we approach 2018, I want to enjoy the moments. I’m determined to enjoy the moments.”

Do you have a resolution for the new year? Share it in the comments below.