With Cancer, You Must Become Selfish!

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There is nothing more selfish in this world than cancer. It stops at nothing, to fulfill it’s terrible devastation, respecting nothing or anybody, in it’s path. Selfishness has never been in my nature. But I felt I had to cut off ALL outside noise, and focus purely on myself, once I was diagnosed. That was one of the most difficult things that cancer forced on me. Many people outside this experience, might struggle to understand what that feels like!

When the doctor uttered those fateful words – “You have cancer” – my world came crashing down. In an instant, my life was redefined by a ruthless disease, that seemed hellbent on stealing everything I held dear. As I grappled with the devastating diagnosis, a surprising realization dawned on me: cancer had awakened an unapologetic sense of selfishness that would forever alter my perspective.

In the early days, a whirlwind of emotions consumed me. Fear, anger, and despair took turns tormenting my soul as I confronted the harsh reality of my own mortality. Yet, amid the chaos, a newfound selfishness began to take root – a primal instinct to fight for my survival at all costs.

Suddenly, the trivial concerns that once occupied my thoughts, seemed laughably insignificant. My sole focus became preserving my existence, even if it meant making choices that might disappoint, or inconvenience others.

As the gravity of my situation sank in, I found myself making decisions that would have been unthinkable before cancer. I declined social invitations, prioritizing rest and self-care over pleasing others. I became unapologetically selective about how I spent my energy, reserving it for the battles that truly mattered.

This unwavering commitment to self-preservation wasn’t born out of ego or entitlement – it was a raw, primal response to the threat that cancer posed to my very existence.

In the face of an uncertain future, I developed an insatiable hunger for happiness and fulfillment. I indulged in simple pleasures that had previously taken a backseat, to the relentless demands of daily life. A leisurely stroll in the park, a good book, or a decadent dessert became sacred rituals, savoured without guilt or apology.

This unapologetic pursuit of joy was my defiant rebellion, against the darkness that cancer sought to cast over my life. It was a declaration that, no matter the circumstances, I deserved to experience moments of pure, unadulterated bliss.

Cancer’s harsh lessons in selfishness, extended to my relationships as well. I learned to set boundaries, even with loved ones, recognizing that their well-intentioned support could sometimes feel suffocating or draining.

I became more discerning about who I allowed into my inner circle, gravitating towards those who could embrace my newfound selfishness, without judgment or resentment. Toxic relationships that once drained my energy, were gently but firmly severed, making room for connections that nourished my soul.

As I navigated the treacherous terrain of cancer treatment, an unexpected gift emerged from my journey: a profound sense of self-awareness and self-acceptance. The selfishness that cancer had ignited within me, became a catalyst for personal growth, empowering me to shed the self-imposed shackles of people-pleasing and societal expectations.

I learned to honor my needs without apology, to set boundaries without guilt, and to prioritize my well-being above all else. This transformative lesson in selfishness didn’t make me a selfish person; rather, it taught me the invaluable art of self-love and self-preservation.

Even as I emerge from the shadows of cancer, the lessons in selfishness it bestowed upon me remain indelibly etched into my psyche. I carry them forward as a reminder to cherish each moment, to embrace the joys that life has to offer, and to fiercely protect the most precious gift of all – my very existence.

Cancer may have been an unwelcome intruder, but the selfishness it ignited within me has become a powerful ally, a beacon guiding me towards a life lived on my own terms, without compromise or apology. For in the end, true selflessness can only blossom from a foundation of unshakable self-love and self-worth.

I have chosen to write this piece since cancer is now a subject on everybody’s lips. It affects everyone differently, and comes with no rule book. Those people in the public eye, are the same as us. As we know only too well 50% of us will be affected by this awful disease in our life. Please be kind, as we don’t know what others are going through, in their private lives.


  1. This is so true of my own experience, and the way I am dealing with stage 4 . Thank you i thought it was just me I now can embrace the selflessness. I have sent it to all my family so, because it explains it better than I have ever been able. My husband is the exception, hes read it but I need to remember with him that hes vital for my continued survival of this disease and quality of life .

  2. Hi Ann, thanks so much for your kind comments.
    From the day we hear the words, “you have cancer,” our lives are changed. It affects everyone differently, and there is certainly no rule book. My first concern was how my wife and children would deal with it. It is so difficult for them as they are quite helpless.
    But I told my wife when I went in for my transplant, that this is where my work starts! I had to focus only on getting better if I could. My wife was brilliant and took over everything else.
    So far it has worked and I have had an incredible amount of ‘extra time.’ Seen 3 grand children and travelled to some incredible places. My fear of cancer for myself is long gone!

    My very best to you and your family Ann XXX

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