What makes cancer patients and caregivers smile on their toughest days

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For cancer patients and caregivers, it can often be difficult to find a reason to smile. Depression, stress and fatigue brought on by cancer treatment are some of the factors patients and caregivers face daily.


But even in the toughest times, it's important to maintain hope. Studies show that mental health and social well-being can impact treatment outcomes.


So, we asked several cancer patients and caregivers what makes them smile, especially on tough days. We hope their answers -- shared below -- will give you a reason to smile, too.

Reasons cancer patients and caregivers smile even on their hardest days

"So many things make me happy. I am especially happy when I think about the smile I get from my grandson John-Paul. He had just been born when I was diagnosed. I spent a lot of time at his home while being treated and feel a special closeness to him. Even though he was just an infant, I really believe he remembers me being there and is happy that his grandpa survived." 

-- Gerard Neumann, acute myeloid leukemia survivor

"On a hard day, I am renewed by taking a walk around the small lake in our town and watching the ducks and birds and listening to the wind rustle in the trees. Also, cuddling and talking with my children and appreciating their amazing wisdom and ability to give love so deeply. And a funny movie is always welcome."

-- Brandie Sellers, two-time breast cancer survivor


"Lots of different things can make me smile no matter what is happening in my life: an unexpected, but genuine hug from someone, a phone call or text from my mom or my sister or nephew, a completely random unexpected kindness. So do gratitude thoughts that I conjure up on my own -- remembering that today I am alive, that I have hair on my head, that I am okay right this minute, that I live in a city with amazing health care, that I am physically fit ... and on and on.  Being grateful for something specific in my life that very day, that very minute makes me happy and makes me smile." 

-- Marcy Kurtzbreast cancer and uterine cancer survivor


"Cheap sushi and an hour by myself to unwind and process the day always make me smile, especially when there's no cell phone, no computer, no one around me. Then, my fiancé and I share a couple of things -- big and small -- we're grateful for that day. Another day together always tops the list."

-- Katie Narvartechronic myeloid leukemia caregiver


"My motto is "live every day like it's your first." When my day is hard, I always remind myself of this and remember that tomorrow is a new day. I really do not sweat the small stuff in life. When you are faced with a life threatening illness, living every day is the best gift ever."

-- Lainie Jones, five-time cancer survivor


What makes you smile even on your hardest days? Tell us on our Facebook page.

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