Recovery Road

Living and Thriving as a Young Person with Cancer

What Is Fear

The day I found out what true fear genuinely feels like came later, at age 30. It didn’t come in the form of a movie, or a girl. It came in the form of being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Read More

As a medical professional

As a medical professional myself, I am sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I also applaud your positive attitude, in general terms. However, what do you do with the fact that current scientific research indicates that positive attitude has no effect on survival rates or length of life after a terminal diagnosis?

I guess one could say that having positive emotion might improve the quality of remaining life, at least. But does it really? I know that you are saying that you are not in denial ... but isn't having a positive attitude in the face of terminal diagnosis the very definition of being in denial? Negative emotion, if it is realistic, is not always maladaptive.

Thanks for your comment and

Thanks for your comment and support, it means a lot!

Although I completely understand your point, I also (as I'm sure are you) am very aware that scientific research evolves over time. If you looked at research say 50 years ago about the effects of cigarettes, that research is very different then vs. now. My point is I would almost guarantee that as we become more aware of the power of our mind, and in particular, the connection between our mind and our health, that research will change.

I choose to stay positive, I choose to see and focus on things I can control, and it has helped me heal every single day since being diagnosed. Mindfulness has a huge part in my life, and will only become a larger part of 'medicine' going forward, in my opinion.

But hey, that's my approach, and I believe it is the only one to have, and will help me win! Again, thank you for your support!

Encouragement for Alex

You gooooo Alex...and know that thousands and thousands of people stand beside you, in your journey!
WHATEVER your positivity and focus do for you medically, know that your choice of attitude is incredibly uplifting and inspiring to those around you! XXOO

Thank you SO much for your

Thank you SO much for your words and support. I'm glad those who are around me are finding this story uplifting and inspiring - I intend on keeping that way!!

You may not remember me,

You may not remember me, Alex, but I was one of the counselors back in your Boehm days. I still remember your amazing smile and optimistic attitude about all things middle school! I am so sorry about your diagnosis and subsequent battle, but truly believe that good has the capacity to come out of all trials. You appear to have made the choice to face the big C with optimism, hope and determination. The book, Love, Medicine and Miracles certainly speaks to your personal outlook. I do believe that it is critical to healing and longevity.

Chuck Long mentioned the possibility of asking you to speak with some of the students at Boehm next Fall to share your story and the impact of one's perspective on life's circumstances. If you are interested, I can certainly discuss the possibility with our principal. I will follow you on Facebook and am counting on sharing the blessings of your journey. Linda

Thank you for your words and

Thank you for your words and support, means a lot! I agree with you, and know that good will come out on top! Love, Medicine, and Miracles is a go to for me, and I'd like to think I'd be a highlighted story in it.

An important message here, I'd welcome speaking to anyone, I hope that spreading awareness and sharing a good, positive story can help others.

Speak soon, thank you again!


". . . the only thing we have to fear is . . . fear itself . . . " ~ President Franklin D. Roosevelt (March 4, 1933 inaugural address)

Niles, writing about your life experiences, including battling cancer, is an important part of self-healing and helps others to explore their own emotions and circumstances.

"Sharing is caring." ~ Frank Michel

On Fear

There are situations in life when one is forced to relocate to some unknown place due to the requirement of a job or academic career....the sudden absence of home,loved ones,food, familiar places, friends and trusted services like health, environment, law and order etc and the fact that one would be tied down to the unfamiliar place for sometime in fact causes anxiety or panic. This has happened to me and the only remedy was to go back home.

Relocating can be a welcome change or overwhelming emotionally.

There's no place like home. You often find that out when it's too late to go home.

If a move is required for a job or career, a major shift can occur personally that goes beyond a change in geographical location.

One can have a smooth move that enhances one's career; provides new social opportunities and friends; and brings a much needed emotional shift, a sense of exploration and adventure, or starting over.

Sometimes a fresh start is a welcome safety valve from the past, from limited career opportunties, or even from an overbearing partner or a dysfunctional family.

Sometimes a new beginning turns into one challenge after another, a feeling of not fitting in or being grounded, and a lost identity. It may be two steps forward and four backward. What were you thinking?

It's really important to assess one's personal history to decide if a drastic change is worth a promotion or getting away from loved ones and everything familiar.

Assess your own behavior and emotional way of coping, and be completely honest with your expectations. Looking at the future unrealistically or with rose-colored glasses isn't beneficial to reach your goals or find happiness.

There are five major areas of one's life that can change. They are job/career, love/relationships, home, family and friends, and health. Ask yourself whether you can handle radical change in all areas of your life simultaneously, or only in one or two areas to prevent emotional overload.

If you're the type of person who can't handle sudden, drastic change, then consider a job promotion to another city or state as a possible scenario for personal disaster and alienation. It might be best to stay with what is familiar to you even if you only make subtle daily change in your lifestyle over time. The choice is yours, so choose wisely.

Thanks Michael for your well

Thanks Michael for your well summarized comment that should surely enhance the well being

Fear motivates into courage.

Alex Niles, a 31-year-old living with stage four gastric cancer since his diagnosis in September 2013, provides insight into fear and overcoming it in his article "What Is Fear" published in "Psychology Today." His understanding is heart-felt from confronting his own health demons.

Alex's fear brought out his champion personality to overcome his emotions. His health regime is unfettered from emotional baggage and self-sabotage.

Alex is stepping into the future with a sense of optimism peppered with pragmatism to help others undergoing cancer treatment. Talk about courage and being a hero and role model.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Alex Niles is a writer who was diagnosed with Stage IV gastric cancer in 2013, at the age of 30.


Subscribe to Recovery Road

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.