Coping with Cancer

Mary DeRayMary DeRay knows cancer all too well. She’s lost family members and dear friends to the disease. She’s also a three-time survivor. Over the past decade, Mary, 71, has fought and beat cervical and endometrial cancer once and breast cancer twice. All in all, she’s endured 30 months of chemotherapy treatment. Below, she explains how focusing on health and wellness helped her through it all.

How can we as survivors help you on a journey you didn’t plan on taking? We can open our hearts, give you hope and provide some tips to make the trip a little less bumpy.

Throughout my battle with cancer, I kept reminding myself what my mother once told me: “Keep your faith and never lose your sense of humor.” Aside from that nugget of wisdom, here are some other things that helped me along my journey:

Water
Water helps flush chemotherapy through your body quicker. I drank six to eight bottles a day. It not only kept me hydrated, but helped me avoid getting sick during 30 months of chemo.

Exercise
Staying active is good for the body and soul. Try walking 30 minutes a day.

Friends and Family
Having someone by your side during chemo helps you stay positive. Laugh, tell stories and be silly. It works!

Asking Questions
Your nurses are angels in uniforms. Don’t be afraid to pick their brain and ask them questions! They are a wealth of information and true encouragers.

Books
Fatigue can become a real issue. Keeping a couple books handy will get you through those days on the couch. One of my favorites was “SeinLanguage” by Jerry Seinfield. A good laugh is great medicine. Another favorite was “Jesus Today” by Sarah Young. This book is where I found my mantra—Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer: Romans 12:12.

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