1. It's possible to grieve for yourself, even though you're still alive. You grieve for the person you were, for the life you had and what could have been.
2. It's possible to grieve for those things, even if your life after cancer is pretty bloody marvellous. And that's OK.
3. You (mostly) have a newfound respect for your body. It breathes without you thinking about it! It pumps blood from your heart to your toes! It heals itself! Even if it's lumpy and bumpy and bigger than you'd like it to be, it's absolutely remarkable and does remarkable things on a daily basis.
4. You think about death. Not in a morbid way. Just in a ‘that's a thing that happens’ way. It doesn't feel as terrifying as it did before you looked it square in the face when you had cancer. It actually feels a lot healthier than it used to. But it still shatters your heart when you hear of people who have died from the thing you have survived (for now).
5. You will value laughter more than you ever thought possible. There were times when you never thought you'd laugh again because you were in such extreme emotional, mental and physical pain. But you will laugh again. And it will feel glorious. And you will relish it.
About Alice-May Purkiss
Alice-May Purkiss is a writer and marketing nerd based in London. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 when she was 26. Hearing the words "you have cancer" changed her life immeasurably, but not necessarily for the worst. Her first book, Life, Lemons and Melons was released in 2019 and explores the relationship between cancer and mental health. It's funnier than it sounds. She spends most of her time swimming in cold water, talking about boobs, reading, writing and trying to make sense of the wild, wonderful and complicated world we live in.