3 Steps To Develop Courage During Cancer Treatment

What is courage and how do you get courage now that you need it more than ever?

While choosing to create new COURAGEOUS plans moving forward, just remember to always look back to see where you’ve been. Remember in the Wizard of Oz that each character already had what they(he/she?) needed without realizing it? Recall how Scarecrow thinks and problem solves; the Tin-Man, an emotional connector to his core; and the Lion, leading the way to the witches’ castle. They needed the journey down the Yellow Brick Road to realize what was inside of them all along.

You have been dumped into an unfamiliar land, language you can barely interpret, and the idea of feeling optimistic or positive about seeing what you are made of is probably not on your radar. But the reality is, this cancer is here now, so you might as well learn all the things you can during your own journey down the yellow brick road.

In the Wizard of Oz, like the Lion – our representation of COURAGE – is introduced later in the movie while trying to intimidate the Tin Man and the Scarecrow. Again, Toto comes to the rescue. We watch the Lion chase after Toto until Dorothy has had enough and slaps the Lion to make him stop. You must decide to today to take control of your Lion. Taking control may take some very strong words, such as: “Stop talking about death. Stop saying this cancer is going to kill me. And for crying out loud quit wasting time on that false belief!” Others may think, “What did I do to deserve this?” This cancer is not your fault. If you want to keep up that under serving thought, just take a virtual walk through St. Jude’s hospital for children or Google children with cancer. After you have taken that virtual tour, you tell me which one of those young vulnerable children caused his/her cancer? So, why do you think you are any different than any one of those vulnerable children?

Cancer happens. Cancer happens to everyone all around the world. Statistics told us in 2011 that 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 7.6 million die from the disease. You did not have a choice, nor did you cause your disease. Your choice now is, how do you plan to live with this cancer. And the answer so far is: ACTION, BREATH, and COURAGE. You are going to build a courageous heart and a disciplined mind. You are going to fight this with all your wisdom, strength, and courage. You are going to live your life now like you have never lived it before. When you are so tired that you can’t do anything but sit on the couch, you are going to turn off the T.V. and spend ten minutes meditating. Then you are going to read something positive. Then you are going to journal or color. Then you are going to drink some green tea or lemon water. Then you are going to take a nap. Next you are going to repeat the above until you have the strength to go for a walk for ten minutes. COURAGE is developed over a period of time. It is not a magic pill that you take and everything gets all better.


  1. Read someone else’s story that has been where you are. (Great book to start with –  In A Moment’s Notice:A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer)
  2. Make an appointment with a psychotherapist, health coach, or spiritual director.
  3. Watch movies where the heroine/hero win.

Photo source: Rose Medical Center

For more information and exercises for cancer patients read Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices: Self Care Tools For Treatment & Recovery

Dr. Robin Dilley

Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

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  1. As a cancer survivor and cancer advocate, I find this little treasure trove of ideas just perfect for newly diagnosed cancer patients.https://www.amazon.com/ABC-Workbook-Cancer-Patients-Letter/dp/1721678026


  2. If you or a friend have been recently diagnosed with cancer, this book is intended to be an oasis from the medical procedures, tough decisions, and daily chores of getting well. This book is here to give you a safe place in the middle of the storm, and to build your strength and courage along the way https://www.amazon.com/ABC-Workbook-Cancer-Patients-Letter/dp/1721678026


  3. Breast Cancer Authority Blog recommends the book ABC Workbook For Cancer Patients because it will help you explore, examine, and expand your awareness of the many ways of coping with this challenging disease. Find this book at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1721678026

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Dr Robin, We all have the courage within us when we allow it to come forward. Your message is a great reminder.


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