What I’ve learned as a 20-year cancer survivor

June 23, 2018by Reena0

By Hayley Dubin

It was twenty years ago this month that I woke from surgery to my husband’s voice telling me that “I have to survive”. After coming to, it was revealed to me that I had stage 3 ovarian cancer. I would need two surgeries and three rounds of chemotherapy, in which I was admitted to the hospital for five days.

My son, Brett, was two at the time, so thankfully we had the support of our family and amazing babysitter (Harriett) to look after him. It was a crazy summer, to say the least, between doctor’s appointments, hospital stays and CT scans. I did what most of us do and plowed through it, knowing that at some point, it would come to an end and that soon I would go back to living my normal life.

Well, going back to my normal life was wishful thinking on my part. As I left the hospital, I felt this inexplicable fear that wasn’t present at the time of diagnosis or treatment. Plus, my body was depleted and I felt like I no longer had control over my health.

All these questions were running through my head about what I could do moving forward to gain my health back and give me some sort of assurance that I would never have to go through this again.

Fast-forward twenty years and this is what I’ve learned:

  1. There are no guarantees, but each day I have a choice. I choose to feel blessed. I choose to feel grateful. I choose to be happy. I choose healthy foods. I choose to move my body. I choose to surround myself with people that lift me up and have my back.
  2. When I remove things that no longer serve me such as fear, regret, worry and blame, my health and life improve.
  3. My body may no longer be the same as it was pre-cancer, but my spirit and faith have soared.
  4. Health is not something to be taken for granted. It is something that I must work hard to maintain.
  5. If we didn’t struggle, we wouldn’t grow and evolve.

Cancer is my teacher. It has taught me what’s important and what to let go of. It has taught me resilience.  It has taught me hat I can make myself a priority and still be a great mother and wife. It has taught me the gift of being present. The importance of knowing when to say “yes” to something and when to say “no”. And, finally, cancer has taught me not to settle in any part of my life.

If you or a loved one have been touched by cancer, what is one great lesson you have learned from it?  Just scroll to the bottom where it says, “Join the Conversation.”  I’d love to hear from you!

With love and good health,

What I’ve learned as a 20-year cancer survivor

P.S. Ready to let go of the fear and step into your power?  Schedule your Confidently Cancer-Free Breakthrough Session today!


What I’ve learned as a 20-year cancer survivor


Hayley Dubin, CHC, AADP
Certified Health Coach
Cancer Recovery and Preventive Health
reVIVE wellness



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