What do brave cancer patients/survivors do that cancer patients/survivors who aren’t brave don’t do?

What do strong cancer patients/survivors do that cancer
patients/survivors who aren’t strong don’t do?

I am genuinely interested in what makes people ‘brave’ or ‘strong’
when they have cancer. Or is it just something people say you are, because they don’t know what else to say? Maybe people’s perceptions of you change when you have cancer so they suddenly see how strong you are? I think maybe that wears off after a while. People forget what you’ve been through. It sort of becomes old news, I think. But that’s another subject entirely.

What about your perception of yourself? How has cancer changed the way you define yourself? Do you think of yourself as stronger, braver, maybe more or less positive than you were before? Do you attribute new positive aspects of yourself to cancer, or do you have more negative traits now that you blame cancer for?

For me, I’m occasionally told that I’m brave. But I don’t really know what it means. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve that title. Like
there’s ever been a choice in any of this. All I know sat here tonight is that I have to get up at half six tomorrow morning – on a Saturday – for a gastroscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy, and I hate it. All I wanted to do tonight was to have a drink to take the edge off and I can’t even do that because it’s not recommended. So instead I’m watching lots of television and trying to distract myself. I don’t feel brave right now.

I suppose I do want people to think of me as brave and strong. And I’d like to know what they do think of me, bearing in mind my experiences, I guess. Not that I’ve ever bothered about what people think of me, but if they’re going to think something, I’d prefer it to be that. I’d rather not be mislabelled. I want people to see me for what I am, and to not forget where I’ve come from. And maybe if other people believe I’m strong and brave, I’ll start to believe it too.

So, what about you? How has cancer changed people’s – or your
own – perception of you, in terms of your personality traits?