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31 Tips for the Newly Diagnosed

1 - Picture yourself extremely old, and very happy.

2 - Sleep. Sleep some more.

3 - Your body is the boss. Listen up.

4 - Sugar is cancer’s favorite food. Starve it.

5 - When friends ask how they can help, say ‘Surprise me.’

6 - Laugh and/or cry - every day.

7 - Tell the shark cartilage advocates to fuck off.

8 - If a therapist doesn’t get you, get a new one.

9 - Medical professionals love well-educated patients.

10 - Ask lots of questions. This says, “I’m actively engaged in my care.”

11 - Know your nurses’ first names. They are critical advocates.

12 - Learn so much that they’ll ask if you are a physician.

13 - Give your body every possible advantage in this fight.

14 - Be with people who love you as much as you love them.

15 - Reject pessimism as inapplicable to you.

16 - Feisty patients have better outcomes. Be one.

17 - Understand precisely why the treatment will work.

18 - Be where you are.

19 - Thinking about your mortality can inspire your most important work.

20 - Life is long.

21 - Strong feelings are information about your values.

22 - Let the love pour in.

23 - Vulnerability is the bomb.

24 - Ask what this new normal is giving you - time to breathe, forced rest, new priorities...

25 - Celebrate treatment milestones.

26 - Your body is more resilient than you can imagine.

27 - Visualize the treatment working with your immune system to obliterate the cancer.

28 - Imagine what you could do if you had no fear.

29 - To create is to defy death. Make something beautiful.

30 - Write a list of adventures you’re going to have on the other side of this.

31 - Be new to yourself.

About the Author

Elizabeth Castronovo has lived with cancer for 22 years. Through tears, laughter, and writing, she clings to the thread of sanity. She maintains a daily sense of awe while taking long walks around the lakes with her dog. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.


Nov 10, 2022



Sep 07, 2022

Such wise, brave and compassionate advice! Love this piece.


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