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How Cancer Patients Change - The Cancer Shift

By Linda Wolters

Due to my chemo-induced fog, I was forced to carry around a small notebook everywhere I went; its intention was so that I could remember what people said to help take some of the awkwardness out of my inability to retain much at that time. What I noticed from my mini diary was there was a constant theme surrounding cancer patients, a difference in their perspective from others in my life who were not diagnosed with cancer. What I saw was those who were facing a life-altering, perhaps terminal diagnosis, had a new, very clear sense of perspective regarding life; they had a cancer shift.

What is the cancer shift you may wonder; simply put, it is the simple realization that life is fabulous!

Often people who are diagnosed with cancer mention how clear their lives are afterward, and what a different person they have become since their diagnosis; but what does this mean? How is it that a potentially life-threatening diagnosis could possibly be deemed something positive or even, dare I say, desired?

No one will ever tell you that cancer is desired and often people may not understand that there could be something positive that could come from this type of diagnosis. But, it is during times of great suffering, of feeling alone and scared that the clarity and perspective of how wonderful life is comes into full view. During these times of immense pain and fear, if you can be still and listen to that inner voice we so often cast aside as craziness, you will stop trying to get past your current state and accept where you are now and with that, comes a sense of contentment and understand – whatever your situation. That is the clear sense of perspective we cancer patients call our cancer shift. And that is the clarity we wish to impart on you.


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