Loss of Identity

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Cancer strips you bare.  You may lose body parts, hair, friends, libido and, along the way, your sense of identity.  Here are some voices on the topic:


Book: Warrior Pose 

Author:  Bhava Ram Join Bhava in #CancerBookClub February 19th, 2017

“It’s been a year now.  Countless failed treatments. Thousands of pills..Endless false hopes. I know it in my heart. I have to face the truth. My time is up. I’ve lost the battle. There will be no return to my career. No more global travel. No more reposts on Nightly News. No more of the life I love more than life itself. I feel resentment, anger, fear and failure….

I now understand the word invalid in a new way. The noun means someone disabled by illness and injury, but the adjective also comes to mind. I’m not valid. My life lacks validity: a broken back, cancer, no career; incapable of raising my son; helpless, hopeless.”



Blogger: Liz O’Riordan

Blog Post: Reality Kicks In

No-(wo)man’s land

“I felt like I didn’t fit in to the world I knew and loved, and didn’t know whether I would ever fit in again. I wasn’t just a breast surgeon, I was also a patient, and I knew at that moment that I didn’t belong. I had lost my sense of identity. All people wanted to talk to me about was my cancer, and my blog, and I had been reduced to an illness…”


Blog:  First Descents

Blogger: Mecca Rohrer

Blog Post: Finding My Identity After Cancer


“…I’m not “moving on” from what happened, and I never will, but I’m instead using the journey to tap into my greater purpose in this life.

Fighting cancer gave me a deeper perspective, a stronger purpose, and a renewed passion to live this life fully – not based on what others think, or the shallow sense of success and identity that we are expected to strive for. I’m continuing to become who I was created to be, and cancer was simply a part of the eye-opening process. One of the greatest lessons I am learning through this journey is that, while cancer will always be a part of my story, and the nightmarish year my body betrayed me is forever burned into my memory and literally carved into my arm, neck, and tongue…but my identity is not based on my ever-changing circumstances. 

I am so much more…”


Blog: Breast Cancer Care (UK))

Blogger: Caroline Smith

Blog Post: How breast cancer took my confidence and sexual identity – and how I found them again

“After all the changes to my body I felt ugly, lost my self confidence, and became really shy – definitely not like me! I was also exhausted. I had no energy and was aware I had lost interest in the opposite sex. I put my social and sex life on hold for eight months. Being single I felt really alone and was worried I would never be able to date again or find someone to be with…”




Blog: The Guardian

Blogger: Dean Eastmond

Blog Post: The cancer side effect we don’t talk about: losing masculinity

“Masculinity is often seen as synonymous with physical strength, which is hit hard when you start chemotherapy. In the two weeks after my first cycle of treatment, my weight dropped by 6kg to 54kg. I was never particularly muscular, but my arms and legs are almost stick-like now; my ribs show through my skin more than ever. In the wards I share with other men, this weight loss has led to many of them looking nearly androgynous…”

One Comment

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    Robin McGee / February 6, 2017 at 1:10 pm /Reply

    Each of these bloggers has done what I have done. They have leaned into it. They have embraced the fear and loss and pain by writing about it. And in the act of writing, they have blasted away the secrecy that once surrounded cancer, and have cleared a path in the wilderness for all to follow. Kudos, fellow identity-riven cancer warriors!

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