The Initial 5 Stages of Emotions When Diagnosed with Cancer

Woman getting diagnosed by the doctor - Hope and Belief


Life often takes unexpected turns, throwing us into situations we never imagined we’d face. One moment, everything seems normal, and the next, you’re facing something you never imagined you’d have to deal with. That’s exactly what happened to me. My plot twist came in the form of a cancer diagnosis—a curveball that changed everything in an instant. As a working mom of two, I found myself thrust into a battle I never signed up for, facing emotions I never knew existed. Here’s a glimpse into the five stages of emotions I experienced upon receiving the life-altering news:

Stage 1: Denial – No, Cancer can’t happen to me. 

When I first heard the word “cancer,” I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. To be honest, I never thought it could ever happen to me. It seems silly now that I thought I was an exception but at the time, I was just in denial. I kept thinking maybe the doctor made a mistake, or perhaps it was just a bad dream that I would wake up from any moment. I clung to the hope that it wasn’t real, that it couldn’t be happening to me. But deep down, I knew I couldn’t run from the truth forever.

Stage 2: Anger – Of all the things, why Cancer? Why me? 

As reality sunk in, anger bubbled up inside me like a pot boiling over. I was mad—at the universe, at myself, at everything. Why me? Why now? My life was going pretty great. My career had picked up. I had started traveling after many years. I was happy. It felt like life had dealt me a cruel hand, and I didn’t know who to blame. I spent days feeling like a volcano ready to erupt, my emotions swirling in a whirlwind of fury and frustration.

Stage 3: Fear – I have no idea what to do

Fear gripped me. It felt like something was squeezing the air out of my lungs and leaving me gasping for breath. There were so many thoughts running through mind all at once and even though I have been a highly positive person throughout my life, I couldn’t get rid if the numerous negative thoughts that kept crawling in one after the other. What if I couldn’t beat this? What if I wasn’t strong enough? We have no budget for this kind of treatment. The unknown stretched out before me like a vast, dark ocean, and I was terrified of what lurked beneath the surface. Thoughts of treatment, of pain, of the future—it all seemed too much to bear.

Stage 4: Support – I found the strongest support wall

Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, something amazing happened. My family and friends rallied around me like an army, ready to fight by my side. They hugged me so tightly that it felt as if they could reach inside me and rip the cancer out. Needless to say they also cried with me. We all cried a heck a lot in those few weeks of my diagnosis. But they all reminded me that I wasn’t alone in this battle. Their love and support became my lifeline, giving me the strength to keep going even when I felt like giving up.

Stage 5: Acceptance – I will not give up, not without a fight

Slowly but surely, acceptance began to settle over me like a warm blanket on a cold night. This was my reality now, and I had to face it head-on. I stopped fighting against the inevitable and started focusing on what I could control—my attitude, my mindset, and my determination to beat cancer. I may not have chosen this path, but I was determined to walk it with my head held high. Something in me sparked that day and it was brighter than any spark I had ever seen before. I decided that I was going to fight it like a dignified warrior – with all the strength that I had and with the biggest smile I could put on.

And so, armed with the love of my family, the support of my friends, and a newfound sense of acceptance, I embarked on the journey of a lifetime. It wasn’t easy, and there were plenty of bumps along the way, but I refused to let cancer define me. I was more than just a diagnosis—I was a fighter and I wasn’t going down without a fight.

I am still fighting it and there are definitely the good days, the bad days, and days where I just want to lay on the bed doing nothing, but I am fighting.

So to anyone out there facing their own battles, know that you’re not alone. No matter how dark the road may seem, there’s always hope on the horizon. Keep fighting, keep believing, and never underestimate the power of the human spirit.

Stay strong, stay brave, and never forget—you are loved, you are worthy, and you are stronger than you know. Keep shining bright, my friends, and if you need someone to talk to, you know where to find me.

Aysha Ahmed
From the Diary of a Cancer Fighter

Disclaimer: Just a Regular Person’s Take on Cancer

I’m just your average working woman and a proud mama of two, here to share my journey with cancer through a blog series Diary of a Cancer Fighter.” I know, one day I will replace this word with “survivor.” But let’s get one thing straight: I’m no doctor. I’m just a regular woman sharing my ups, downs, and everything in between. Especially the wonders of mind power and the power of thoughts that amaze me. So, take my musings with a grain of salt, a dash of humor, and a side of fries. Remember, mind power and the power of thoughts can work wonders, but for the serious stuff, please consult the pros. But if you need someone to talk to, reach out to me, and we can talk as much as we want 🙂

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