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a woman smelling a rose with journal pages behind her

Initial Thoughts After a Cancer Diagnosis

I was doing some spring cleaning on my computer and happened to find a journal entry from just weeks after I was diagnosed with cancer. After reading through it and getting chills, I wanted to share it publicly, but keep in mind, my feelings changed drastically as I went through treatment.

A journal entry from May 26, 2017

People keep telling me that I’m so brave for sharing my story with thousands of people, but I’m not sure if I agree. The truth is, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders as soon as I put the news out there. I’ve been holding this in and keeping it to myself for so long and it caused me nothing but stress and anxiety.

I’ve known that something was wrong from the beginning of 2017 and I found out there was a good chance it was cancer in March. That left me with a lot of uncertainty about my future.

Changing my plans

Every time someone would try to make summer plans with me, I was hesitant because I knew that I may be undergoing chemo over the coming months. A friend asked me to do a 5k with him and I kept putting it off and making excuses why I couldn’t sign up just yet, but in the back of my mind, it was only because I wasn’t sure if I’d physically be able to. Another friend asked me to participate in a charity event for Alzheimer’s over the summer and, although I wanted to help out more than anything, I couldn’t give a definite yes that I would be there. My family was planning a vacation in August and I never even submitted the time-off request to my boss because I was worried I may be battling cancer during that time. Although it’s now confirmed that I’m not going to get to do any of these things, it helps to know what’s going on instead of living in a world of uncertainty.

Looking back at my relationship

I was also going through a very bad and controlling relationship at the same time that my health was in question. The person I was dating at the time always made me feel really bad about myself and added quite a bit of stress to my life on top of everything else I was dealing with. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how bad of a situation I was in it at the time. I was dealing with a lot all at once.

Finally getting some answers

Of course, getting some answers and finally escaping the controlling relationship I was in both helped ease some of the stress around me, but I still feel happier than I’ve been in a while. I wouldn’t have expected to feel this happy after just finding out days ago that I have cancer, but here I am, smiling away.

Being diagnosed with cancer is a huge wake-up call. It really puts things in perspective and things that used to be a big deal suddenly don’t even phase me anymore. It made me realize that I have been investing so much time and energy into things that really shouldn’t have even been a second thought in my mind. I’m learning to enjoy every moment I’m given because we really don’t know when the last one will come. I’m stopping to smell the flowers and take time to do some of the things that I “never had time for” before. Overall, I feel happy right now and I’m ready to put up a good fight to get rid of my cancer.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Carole McCue
    2 days ago

    Hi Crystal,
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts. Every day is a gift and Yes Smell the Roses🥰 Wishing you good health🙏🏻

  • Deb Wesloh moderator
    4 weeks ago

    Being diagnosed with cancer does change your perspective. Things that I thought were important before cancer, are no longer concerning. Best of luck on battling your cancer! (Deb Wesloh, BC Moderator)

  • joy
    1 month ago

    My initial thought in April of 2016 was, ok I did it before, 25 years before, I got it made and know what to expect. Ha ha on me. Mantle cell is incurable, and for 9 months I was on chemo, in the hospital, for a week then off for a week. Then came remission. Then a year ago today, I was at my sons and had. Tickle in my throat, then came the cough. Long plane ride home. Was running a 101 temp, felt like a truck hit me. Went to pcp thinking bronchitis, then pulmonary. Finally oncology. He said your very wheezy. I said It’s Back! No it’s not. Ct scan, then a broncoscope, yep back in my lungs. So do what I can, and am not planning on dying anytime soon.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    1 month ago

    @crystal_hu You have come a long way since then. You’ve made some wonderful choices for yourself and your dad and I are extremely proud of you. Keep on smelling the Rose’s and all the flowers of life as you continue on your journey. There’s so much more for you to experience! 💕

  • ocean
    1 month ago

    Great story and I wish you all the best. I too don’t sweat the small stuff anymore and I’ve learned to really stand up for myself as I was going through cancer it really helped me a lot .

  • Susan Gonsalves moderator
    1 month ago

    @Crystal Harper — Cancer diagnosis does make some other life problems seem like “small stuff,” at times. I admire your hopeful attitude and wish you all the best.

  • Jeff Neurman moderator
    1 month ago

    Excellent piece, Crystal. Thank you so much for sharing. I think you have adopted such a great attitude towards the situation, so well summed up when you said, “ It really puts things in perspective.” Now, if only I could take some lessons from you on how to do it. Great job. Thanks again.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    1 month ago

    I agree Crystal cancer seems to put a different spin on this thing called life. Keep going strong while smelling those roses. Best!

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