The Mighty Logo

What Being in Recovery for Cancer Really Means

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

When someone says they’re in ‘recovery’ for cancer, this is what they really mean.

Read the full transcript:

I’m in recovery for cancer.

But that doesn’t mean I’m better.  

What Being in Recovery For Cancer Really Means

Recovery means the ‘what if’s.’

What if I hadn’t gotten cancer?

What if the cancer comes back?

What if I’m not really ‘better?’     

What if my body is beyond repair?

What if people treat me differently?

It means unintentionally feeding a mental illness that fills up with terrible thoughts.

Maybe I deserved to get cancer.

Maybe next time I won’t be so lucky.

Maybe someone I love will get cancer.

Maybe I’m not as strong as I thought I was.

Maybe I’ll never get my shit together.

It means feeling guilty for surviving when others have not.

It means forever having emotional and physical scars.

It means constant checkups and accepting a new ‘normal.’

It means anxiously awaiting unknown test results.    

It means being prepared for what could happen again.

I may be in recovery for cancer,

But there is so much more going on.

Sometimes I need a helping hand to remind me of my strength

And that I can face whatever comes my way.

Originally published: August 24, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home