How Being Grateful Helped Me Navigate a Cancer Diagnosis

I know what you're thinking, “gratitude when you have Cancer”? 

Well, on my cancer journey I have finally found that practicing gratitude can in fact, change the game.

3 months into my chemo program, I was not in a great headspace, it was almost Christmas, I was away from my family, I was sicker than I had imagined getting, navigating the health system was, let's just say challenging.... Quite frankly I was drowning. I didn't want to go to sleep because I didn't want to wake up the next day, because that meant another doctor, another bag of drugs to be hooked up to... It was the darkest of times for me.

I can remember the week it all changed for me. Something had to give, I felt like the poison was taking over me, and it was pouring out of me... I was not a nice person to be around, I didn't even want to be with myself, so I can't imagine what it would have been like for my family and friends.

I played around with a gratitude journal from time to time, but never consistently, I decided it was now or never. Around the same time I watched the @healdoccumentry and that helped push me into my own power and take back my happiness.

Most days I was in the treatment center in downtown LA, either in chemo or hydration... Each morning I made time to practice gratitude. It was hard at the start, my mind was not being super helpful, it didn't come naturally, that's for sure.

I started with being grateful for my nurses, who everyday help our community in their darkest days, in my eyes, they are Earth angels. 

I was grateful for my mum travelling across the globe to be my personal driver, chef and carer. I was grateful for my global support gang, tirelessly hustling to raise funds for my treatment and living expenses. 

I was grateful for my angel baby Clyde, my boyfriend's doberman, who did not leave my side, he would sit with me in the bathroom all of the long nights and mornings... With his paw in my hand. 

As the days, weeks, months passed, gratitude was flowing from me, my heart was filling back up with love and joy... I was grateful to be alive, even though I was battling for my life, I was grateful that I was waking up each day.

Now a few months on from my aggressive treatment, my heart is full of love daily. 

I'm grateful that I can get out of bed and walk my dog, cook my own meals, spend time in my garden... It's all just so beautiful, there is so much to be grateful for everyday... We just need to let ourselves see it. 

Practicing gratitude can rewire your brain's way of thinking, looking for the good in the world around us instead of the darkness.

I've gone as far to say I am grateful for my cancer, it stopped me dead in my tracks and gave me a chance to reassess my life, I wouldn't be who I am today without the experience, that's for sure.

For me, gratitude has changed my life, in my darkest hour, in my time of need.... It was a game changer.

Today I am grateful to be able to share my story with you via the @thrivegang, I'm grateful to be alive and a part of this amazing community of thrivers.

I challenge you to give it a go, if I did it... Why can't you? 

By Kate Burns


Kate Burns is an Australian living in LA, diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in August 2018- age 37- remission March 2019. 

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