Rediscovering Myself After Cancer


After getting over the shock of being diagnosed with a rare cancer, I could only think about returning to my “normal” self, but I later discovered that the normal I was trying to return to would change.

cartoon drawing of cancer survivor and blogger, Tamron Little

There's something about change that can be somewhat scary, and to be honest, most people don’t like change. But one of the many things I learned is that change is not always bad! Yep, I know you're telling that to someone who hasn’t been diagnosed with cancer. It took quite some time for me to figure this out, and while figuring this out, I rediscovered who I was after cancer.

Remembering what once was:

Are you familiar with people who always reminisce about how things used to be? That’s the same headspace I was in; it’s all I knew: the old me, the "normal" me without cancer. I would think about how I felt before cancer, what I did pre-diagnosis and how my life was “normal” because I wasn’t sick. I remember saying, “I just want to be my normal self again.” Does this sound familiar?

The term “new normal” has been thrown around since 2020. But after having cancer, you will indeed have a new normal. Once I accepted my new normal, the journey to rediscover myself began.

And this is how I did it!

  • I reevaluated my goals- Cancer changed how I looked at life, my dreams, and what was significant to me.
  • Became more intentional- I was intentional on purpose, intentional about my time, intentional about protecting my peace and much more.
  • Started sharing my story with others- this allowed me to create an awareness about mesothelioma and spread hope to others.
  • Made my mental health a priority- Years after my diagnosis, I discovered that my mental health is just as important as my physical health. I made positive changes and got the mental health help I needed.
  • Began advocating for women cancer survivors- A rare form of cancer that isn’t common in women needs someone brave enough to share their story and speak up for others.

I could have listed so much more, but above are the key things I did and am still doing. It has been 16 years and counting since I've been cancer-free. I can say now that this change for me was for the better. I have grown in so many ways, spiritually, mentally, physically and gained so much knowledge about patient advocacy.

No matter where you are in your cancer journey, know that it is okay to feel like you want your “old self” back; it is customary to reminisce about how things used to be pre-cancer. One thing I remind others is that you should feel your emotions. Permit yourself to process your feelings, but don’t dwell too long. Everyone may have a different experience, but one thing to note is to take things one step at a time and one day at a time. Take care of yourself!

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