Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Thankful for Cancer? Not Yet

I had a friend call me about 3 months into the start of my chemotherapy treatment to catch up and see how treatment was going. During this conversation, he started telling me about a rough time he went through a few years ago. Long story short, he was engaged previously and went through a really bad breakup before the wedding.

While telling me some of the details, he paused and mentioned that although it was the hardest time in his life, he was grateful it happened because it made him a better person in the long run. He quickly turned the conversation back on me and asked me if I was grateful for my cancer, expecting a similar reaction from me. I already knew where he was going with this story so before he could even finish the question, I blurted out “NO!” I have to laugh thinking back to this moment because I know I caught him off guard, but at the time I remember feeling a bit offended that he compared his breakup to my cancer.

Poor timing

To be fair, he asked me that question while I was still actively in treatment and going through the hardest time in my life. I’ll fully admit that being about 8 months post-treatment, I can appreciate some of the great things that have happened to me as a direct result of my diagnosis. The reality is that cancer isn’t something that just happens one day and then we eventually move on like we typically do after a breakup. There are lasting effects from a diagnosis that many of us have to deal with for the rest of our lives. So, would I got back in time and change my diagnosis? Absolutely. Nobody should ever have to deal with cancer. While I don’t necessarily believe that everything happens for a reason, I do truly feel that you can find something good that comes out of even the most awful situations we are put through.

An uplifting thought

I was asked this question roughly a year ago and I constantly find myself wondering if one day I’ll change my mind. Will I ever look back and be grateful for my diagnosis? Will something so great happen to me as a result of everything I went through that will make it all worth it? It’s hard to think that one day I may actually be thankful for getting cancer and I can’t imagine that day coming anytime soon, but it’s an interesting and almost uplifting thought.

How do you feel about this question? Can you say you’re thankful, even in a small way, for being diagnosed with cancer? What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of your diagnosis?

You can connect with me in the comments below or reach out with a message. I am also on Instagram at @CrystalHarper_

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.


  • Nichola75
    11 months ago

    Hi there. I feel the same as you. I understand that it makes you think about life, new challenges and changes or opportunities that you might want to consider. However, as this is a chronic illness that frustrates me because you still need to work and you still need to be financially stable so for me that limits the changes that you can make. It has made me appreciate the little things more, spend more quality time with the family and think about being kinder to myself so I suppose that’s positive but I don’t think I will ever be thankful for the diagnosis because the long term emotional impact is so overwhelming x

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    11 months ago

    Hi Nichola, @nichola75 this is true in regards to chronic illness; It can be difficult to maneuver your day to day activities. I understand your point of not being thankful for a diagnosis. The thing there is it does help some cope with the situation a bit better as the new life transition. The emotional impact is rough but continue to hang strong. Best!

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    1 year ago

    @crystal_hu I’m not sure grateful is the right word. I don’t think I’ll ever be grateful for my diagnosis, but I am living the new reality is has given me with gusto. The way life works, I’ve found, is usually a big shake up with several less good things, let’s say, and then you make your way back up to good living. Then rinse and repeat. So, if the bad has already happened, then the good has to eventually come. It seems to be the way things work. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

  • bluchs
    1 year ago

    I read your story, and I am not sure why anyone would have asked you, if you were grateful, he most likely, never new anyone before, who had gone through this cancer?
    As for Me, I have been fighting this for 3&1/2 years, and there is nothing to be grateful about this for me, Nothing, it has been very hard on myself and my family, not to mention how expensive it has been, and continues to be.
    After 13 months of much pain, I was told I was in remission, I never felt like I was in remission, not ever, but after only 10 months, I was then told I was terminally ill, my cancer returned with a vengeance.
    So there is actually, for me, nothing to be grateful for.
    I do still pray for a miracle, and I am glad to still be alive.
    I will pray for you as well Crystal, it is very hard, but stay strong, don’t give up, and never take someone’s, un educated comments to heart, I am sure in his own way he meant good things for you?
    May God Bless You in this fight.

  • Poll