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When Cancer Returns

  • Posted: 07/15/2011

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Looking for Meaning

At different times in life, it's natural for people to look for meaning in their lives. And many people with recurrent cancer find this search for meaning important. They want to understand their purpose in life. They often reflect on what they have gone through. Some look for a sense of peace or a bond with others. Some seek to forgive themselves or others for past actions. Some look for answers and strength through religion or spirituality.

"I really struggled with my diagnosis. I couldn't understand why I had to go through this one more time. Although I wouldn't consider myself religious, I found that prayer helped me. I began to understand that I had a purpose in life, and that the cancer was just part of the plan." - Bill

Being spiritual means different things to different people. It's a very personal issue. Everyone has their own beliefs about the meaning of life. Some people find it through religion or faith. Some find it by teaching or through volunteer work. Others find it in other ways. Having cancer may cause you to think about what you believe - about God, an afterlife, or the connections between living things. This can bring a sense of peace, a lot of questions, or both.

You may have already given a lot of thought to these issues. Still, you might find comfort by exploring more deeply what is meaningful to you. You could do this with someone close to you, a member of your faith or spiritual community, a counselor, or a trusted friend. Or you may find that talking to others at gatherings and services at places of worship is helpful.

Or you may just want to take time for yourself. You may want to reflect on your experiences and relationships. Writing in a journal or reading also helps some people find comfort and meaning. Others find that prayer or meditation helps them.

Many people also find that cancer changes their values. The things you own and your daily duties may seem less important. You may decide to spend more time with loved ones or helping others. You may want to do more things outdoors or learn something new.