Being Happy with Cancer

July 07, 2017

For 66-year-old Ashok, being diagnosed with lung cancer 8 years ago was difficult, but it strengthened his resolve to enjoy life. When asked, “what advice would you give to people diagnosed with cancer?” he replies, “Just be happy.”

Being happy in the face of multiple treatment regimens is challenging, but Ashok has embraced living life to the fullest. Since his diagnosis, Ashok has had 7 surgeries, one of which resulted in the removal of almost his entire left lung. For the past 8 years Ashok has gone to the hospital 1-2 times per year; sometimes he has spent 2 days there and other times a month. We were put in touch with Ashok after his most recent hospitalization, during which time he was given a PICC line to ease his treatment during 6 weeks of antibiotics. To help with his treatment experience, Ashok sported a Yankees PICC Line Cover. Ashok has been a Yankees fan for 30 years and found that this simple acknowledgement of something he loved made him happier during his treatment. For Ashok, happiness has been an integral part of his fight against cancer.

What else makes Ashok happy? “My wife’s cooking – but when we feel like going out I love French and Italian. Massages to help with back pain. TV Shows – they’re interesting, but short so it’s nice to have built in breaks between episodes. Long walks to clear the mind and get exercise. And finally, just recently, we welcomed my first grandson into the world. Every day I FaceTime with him and seeing him smile – that’s true happiness.”

Trying to find your way towards happiness with cancer? If you are struggling, consider a support group such as that offered by one of our partners, CancerCare. Navigating the emotional journey of cancer can sometimes be just as difficult as the physical one. The American Cancer Society explains:

“Cancer affects your body, but it affects your emotions and feelings, too…Mental health care and emotional support can help patients and their loved ones better manage cancer and its treatment. Talk to the members of your cancer care team about things you can do to help yourself through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes it also helps to talk to other survivors who are going through the same things you are facing. Your attitudes, emotions, and moods can change from day to day, and even from hour to hour. You may feel good one day and terrible the next. Know that this is normal and that, with time, most people are able to adjust to a cancer diagnosis and move forward with their lives. Some may need extra help from a support group or a mental health professional to learn to cope better. Find the strength and support you need to feel the best you can and have the best possible quality of life.”

Do you have a story that you want to share with the community? Feel free to email us at We’re inspired by the anecdotes of amazing people such as Ashok and are always excited to share the stories of patients from around the world!

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