Cancer Survivor Guilt

If you are a Cancer Survivor, chances are you have experienced these feelings. I never realized exactly what I was feeling until recently, five years out from surviving Stage 3 Breast Cancer.

Marcy worked at my local library. Marcy was an amazing woman, wife, mother, grandmother who gave her all to her patrons. She was the type of woman who reserved books for you because she knew your reading habits. When people walked into the library and saw Marcy, they lit up. Marcy made everyone feel special and like they were the only person that ever visited a very busy library. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Marcy sent me cards. When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, Marcy sent me cards. Then when my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, Marcy sent more cards! Every time
I visited the library, it was like old home week, and Marcy always inquired about my health, and that of my mom and sister. She would tell me stories of other customers who were survivors ALWAYS said in a way to give me hope and encouragement.

On a recent Sunday, I was shocked and stunned to see Marcy’s face above an obituary with her name on it. Marcy was in her 60s but looked like her 50s. She was always healthy, never missed a day of work and didn’t get sick. When I found out Marcy was diagnosed with a rather rare cancer and died within two weeks of diagnosis, I felt more than just grief. I felt terrible guilt that I had survived and Marcy did not. I had no chance to send her cards and give her comfort as she had given me. Marcy did not even have a chance to survive and fight cancer.

Those feelings were and are very real, but once I examined them, I realized that quite often I felt those same guilt feelings especially every time I hear of a woman who dies of breast cancer. Finally, I decided to google it, and sure enough, it is a common and often lasting side effect of cancer survivors.

Now I am trying to transform those guilt feelings into even more action. Those guilt feelings are a constant reminder to make every moment of my life count.

One way I strive to make my life count is my online store, http://www.hellocourage.com
to bring hope and encouragement to men and women battling cancer.

Turn any guilt feelings you might have into a positive! IT HELPS!

This article from Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital is worth the read as it outlines these feelings and ways to transform and deal with them:

https://www.mskcc.org/blog/guilt-lasting-side-effect-cancer-survivors

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One thought on “Cancer Survivor Guilt

  1. I love that you are using your positive energy in such wonderful ways, my friend. I hope you never feel guilty – you are such a bright shining ray of hope to oh so many. oxox

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