top of page
  • Writer's picture Marcia McGee Ashford

Cancer Patient Support Tips from a Survivor

Updated: Feb 22

February 8, the day that changed my life forever! I was diagnosed with cancer. Yes, the Big C.

Then was when I knew I had to do something positive to help myself and others with hurting hearts and a cancer diagnosis. 

cancer survivor marcia ashford

I found out the meds would make me lose my hair. Without hair who are we? Forget cancer and focus on what's important, being bald! At first, that's the way it feels. The cancer is surreal. The hair is still real and on our heads! 

Then we find out there is the ULTIMATE bad hair day! No hair at all. Every doctor warned me that the hair would fall out chemo #3 or 4. I planned in advance. 

Wigs and caps started flying around. Everyone was trying to help me prepare for that moment when I was a bald-headed woman. I still can't say it. Sounds like an oxymoron! Go ahead, try to say "bald headed woman" 5 times and keep a straight face!  

Then it finally happened. Guess what! I survived. My head shined and surely glowed in the dark. If this is where you are now do not panic. Hair or not, treatments, and how to get through the rough stuff can be difficult. 

How do we survive such moments in our lives? I've been there and worn the t-shirt. That is why I write cancer support books. I rode the horse, chopped the wood (trying to make you laugh) and want to share a few things I’ve learned during the journey. 

The Blame Game 

I know you are going through a lot right now. You have been diagnosed and you are trying to figure out how you got here. There is a ton of guilt weighing you down! 

trying to understand how i got cancer

I am the one who eats healthy and tried to avoid things that make me sick. I balance my supplement, get plenty of sleep, and drink lots of water.

So why am I the one with cancer? I ask the question, why me?" 

Bet you are there too. So, what gave us cancer? 

Plastic bottled water? 

Electrical current? 



Not enough fiber? 

Too much fiber? 

Too much sun? 


Bad luck?

None or all of the above? 

Our worry list can be endless and gets us nowhere. What we have to accept is that we have cancer. The why? That may be beyond our scope of knowledge. 

Just don't let guilt weight you down and let’s move on to the reality of what is happening. 

Tip #1 - Be Honest

Tell your family or have the doctor tell them what is going on. 

I put on the "brave" face for my family, especially for my kids. I didn't want them to worry. Well, they were worrying anyway, and they said knowing the truth actually was a relief because they knew something was wrong and now there was a diagnosis and a plan.  

I have to admit that even made me feel better. Having a plan sounded like a safe thing as we moved forward. 


Tip #2 Stop and Just Breathe 

STOP! We all know what a stop sign really means-come to a complete halt, but sometimes that is a tough thing to do. Our minds are a whirlwind of activity and sometimes our worst enemy. Sometimes we can't shut it down to have a moment of peace. Stopping is a chance to regroup before you move forward on your Big C journey.  


Tip #3 - Start Journaling and do things that can relax body and soul 

start journaling for help during cancer therapy

Start journaling. Just a few words here and then can help you release-doodles and sketching are fun too. I realized that early on. It is important to clock in a few words, sentences, or a complete rant to release some of the tension. 

Tip #4 - How Do you "stomach" the journey?

How do you get from here safely and sanely to the other side? 

Beverly is my sister-in-law. She is kind, caring and wisdom pours from her lips. I want to share her wisdom, the elephant story, with you.  

the elephant story

"Imagine you are somewhere that there is no food except for one big elephant. You know you can't eat that elephant, but you have to in order to survive. The thought of devouring such a creature (especially if you are vegetarian) is beyond your scope of imagination. 

What do you do? You turn your back on the elephant and don't look at the whole thing. Instead, you eat a small part of it every time it's served. In the end the whole elephant will be gone, and you will be finished. It will be over."

One small portion of it every time it's served makes it doable. So, make your time with chemo, radiation, immunotherapy, surgeries into one big, digestible elephant and smile because you know you are one more step away from digesting the whole critter.

No one is really eating an elephant, but this is a good example for processing and turning the journey into bite size pieces. You can do this! One little bite, one treatment, one step at a time. 


 Tip #5 – Back to the Worry List What next? 

Fear is the great unknown in life and being diagnosed can send up a big alert in that department. The what ifs. We will go more into that topic another time but know it is normal to have these thoughts. You are in a new part of your life and your life’s path has suddenly changed. 

Again, write it out. Talk it out if you want to share with others.

Tip #6 – For Family and Friends 

family and friends

What can you do to help loved ones on the Big C path? Love them as you always have and help them remember who they are. Cancer changes things but they are still the special person you have always loved.  

Tip #7 - Finally 

Finally, I want to personally send hugs and prayers to those on your journey and your families. It is not easy, but we all know "You've got this!" Try to still enjoy the small things of life and precious time with your family and friends. They will be there with you in the trenches! 

REMEMBER: Hair or not you are BEAUTIFUL!  


cancer therapy book

"Thank you, Marcia, for sharing your journey with cancer in a manner that we can all empathize, laugh, and cry with, and to let all patients and their families battling cancers know that they are not alone. God bless!" 

Tip #8 - The Other Side 

Chemo, radiation, immune therapy and 3 surgeries later I was exhausted but grateful! 

The passion to write and share thoughts and feelings with others kept getting stronger. I wanted others to have some idea of what was going on and riding the emotional roller coaster.

I wanted create cancer patient support for those who followed. Thus, It's All About the Hair Your Cancer Journey was created. Since that time thousands of women have found words of comfort, laughter, and faith that this book offers. A book that is with you in the trenches. Read, write, draw, and don’t forget to stop and just breathe. 


Discover essential cancer patient support tips from a survivor's heartfelt journey. Find comfort, laughter, and faith to navigate the tough times.

art therapy bookf or cancer patients

life after cancer

cancer keepsake journal


This information is shared with love and a sense of humor. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, family advice, or any other advice given to anyone on the journey.

It is intended to lift your spirits, make you laugh, believe in yourself and know you are not alone.  



Find our cancer support books, coloring books for all ages and happy children's books on amazon!

hearttring productions cancer support books



Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page