Cancer Isn’t a Gift, But Surviving It (Twice!) Is 

Cancer Isn’t a Gift, But Surviving It (Twice!) Is 

How Surviving Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer Changed My Perspective

 by Karen Rice 

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I reacted like many other newly diagnosed people do. The first thing that came to my mind was “This is a death sentence.” However, I discovered later it was instead an awakening.

A few years after my breast cancer diagnosis, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. “God, why? Why me?” I cried out. “What have I done so wrong in life to have this placed upon me?”

However, as soon as those words left my lips, the feeling that I was going to be OK suddenly washed over me. I realized I was looking at a new beginning – new hope. From this point on, I would do and see more with a whole new perspective on life.

 I realized I was looking at a new beginning – new hope. 

I would never say having cancer is a gift. Surviving it – receiving a second and third chance at life – is the gift.

I have learned not to blink twice in life anymore and to live it to the fullest. I decided I would not allow the disease to take away who I am or what I stand for. Even with all the complications I now live with, I still feel truly blessed.

For a while, I was not happy with the way I looked after my surgery, nor with the pain I cope with daily. But one day I decided to snap out of it. I thought about the people, especially children, who can’t leave the hospital due to all the treatments they’re undergoing. And I realized there will always be someone worse off than I am. So who am I to complain? I’m still among the living.

I honestly believe that when you survive something like cancer, it’s for a reason. You have a purpose. I want to live my fullest life and find out exactly what that is for me.

Right now, all I have is to share my experiences, my faith, and hope with others. I want to use my words to make a positive impact on someone who is ill or otherwise hurting. I hope that what I have to say gives them the strength to
embrace their life in a whole new way.

I am a true example that you can survive cancer, not once, but twice, if you get to it in time. I’m not saying it will be easy. What I am saying is that I want you to have faith, to fight with all you have, and then hold on.

Karen Rice is a breast and colon cancer survivor and author living in Houston, TX. She has published a memoir titled Cancer, Yet Cancer Again: But I Will Not Die, Before I’m Dead, as well as a book of poems called True Simple Poems of Life, Faith and Survival.

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This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, Winter 2023.

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