Hope After Cancer Adele's story
Adele (she/her) - Black Caribbean
Diagnosed in 2019 - Bladder Cancer
I am worthy. I am grateful. I am enough.
I could not have imagined that three years after my diagnosis I would ever be able to write a blog with the word cancer and hope in the title.
Frequent waves of despondency and despair around the time of my diagnosis convinced me that hope was something that I would not feel again.
"Truth be told, hope did not come back into my life for a good 18 months post-cancer."
I tried to take a post-cancer shortcut.
I thought, that if I do not think about it and do not talk about it, this post-diagnosis trauma would go away. Needless to say, this did not work. The trouble is, by trying to force myself not to think about my diagnosis, I thought about nothing else until I felt I was truly spiralling downwards.
Admittedly, I did not see myself as the support group type. I’m a lone ranger of sorts and didn’t see how it could benefit me. I could not have been more wrong.
It did not take long before entering the first group session that I realised what I had been missing up to that point. For the first time since my cancer diagnosis, I felt seen, heard and understood.
This compassionate, non-judgemental, space that was created every week in these sessions by an amazing group of survivors removed the isolation I had felt since I was diagnosed. The meeting of minds and ability to see my own emotions and thoughts being mirrored in others gave me the permission that I needed to feel whatever I wanted to in a way I had denied myself up until that point. The individual coaching sessions were also invaluable.
Now, as I write, three years post-diagnosis, my cancer diagnosis means something completely different. I own it differently. I have re-framed the pain and fear as an opportunity. Of course, it was an unwelcome opportunity, but an opportunity, nonetheless. An opportunity to re-design my life now that I have a new perspective on what is meaningful to me. I see my diagnosis as a reset from the me before to who I am now.
Today, my life has a new meaning. I feel grateful and fortunate in so many ways; that I made it through that experience, for the new beginning and the welcome change in perspective.
Seeing my cancer as a new beginning has helped me massively in my post-cancer life. It has reminded me that I am alive and has put me firmly in the driving seat of my life. I am now unrecognisable as the person I once was. In a good way, I believe.
Fast forward three years, and today, my life is filled with so much hope!