Finding Support and Positivity during a Cancer Journey
- Beloved newscaster Bob Nunnally of Ohio’s NBC4 just announced he is battling cancer for a third time. He also shared that he loves all the support he’s been getting and would really appreciate viewers reaching out with messages of encouragement during this difficult time.
- It’s normal to have negative feelings during a cancer journey, but experts say that people who find a way to work through the emotions and stay positive tend to have better outcomes.
- There are many people out there for cancer warriors to be vulnerable with – if they’d like. And whether that’s through your workplace or social media or simply connecting with your closest family and friends, it’s worth it to at least try.
Nunnally has been working with Ohio-based NBC4 for nearly 25 years. It’s no secret that he loves what he does, but, unfortunately, he’ll have to take a break from his news family to focus on healing as he heads into his third battle with cancer.Read More
Nunnally hasn’t announced exactly what type of cancer he’s facing, but he’s already battled the disease twice. The first time was in his 20s, and that’s when he said the word ‘cancer’ “felt like a death warrant” because he had never known anyone who survived. But this time around, things are different.
“It’s like every bit of positive news that the doctors give me I grasp onto it, and I say, ‘We’re gonna fight you. We’re gonna fight you as much as possible, as hard as possible, and we’re gonna win,” he said.
Now, that doesn’t mean receiving this diagnosis was completely different. He admits he heard the word ‘cancer’ and immediately blocked everything else out the first time his doctor explained things. But once the word settled in, he was able to focus on the positive: they found his cancer early, it has not metastasized and the prognosis is good.
“My doctors say it looks good for me,” he said. “You listen closely to everything they say and you go, ‘Okay we can beat this, I can beat this, the doctors can beat this.”
He’ll be starting chemotherapy in the coming days, and the hope is that the chemo will shrink his cancer enough for it to be surgically removed. He knows this treatment will take a toll on his body – especially since he’s already had other procedures for his health recently – and he’s been feeling isolated since he’s trying to protect his immune system as he heads into treatment. But, thankfully, Nunnally knows he can count on his news family for support.
“I love hearing from people — things have been coming in kind of piecemeal at this point — but you can let me know through the station’s website if you have any statements of support,” Nunnally said. “It gives me strength and makes me feel better.
“I’ve been feeling a little bit weak here lately… I’m gonna really appreciate any bit of support in any way that people want to give to me, pray to me, write me nice letters, say something in support. I will appreciate every little bit of it.”
Staying Positive during Cancer Treatment
It’s very normal to have negative feelings throughout your cancer journey – and it’s okay to express them too! Anger, shame, fear and anxiety are all to be expected. But doctors will tell you that people who find a way to work through the emotions and stay positive, like Nunnally, tend to have better outcomes.
“A positive attitude is really important,” Dr. Zuri Murrell, a colorectal surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, previously told SurvivorNet. “I’m pretty good at telling what kind of patients are going to still have this attitude and probably going to live the longest, even with bad, bad disease. And those are patients who, they have gratitude in life.”
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Mona Robbins, a licensed psychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, shared that mindset can play a huge role in helping you throughout your cancer journey. She says it’s important to understand that there are some things you can control and some things you just can’t.
“There’s this connection with the mind and the body that if we adjust the way that we think, we can really help our bodies to heal,” Dr. Robbins said. “For areas where you can control, how can you either advocate for yourself, ask more questions, clarify the needs? Or even, then, where areas where you can’t, how can you take things one day at a time? Recognizing some of the good that may be present in the day, as opposed to all of the bad you may think is there.”
And one way to stay positive and focus on the ‘controllables’ is to make plans for the future and have something you’re looking ahead to.
“Have something to look forward to – either in a couple months, if not at the end of the week – so that that brings up your spirit and your energy so that you feel a little bit more hopeful about what’s happening,” she said.
Building a Community of Support during a Cancer Battle
During a cancer battle, it’s important to stay positive but it’s also crucial to remember that you are not alone. There’s a community out there for you to be vulnerable with, if you’d like, and connecting with people as you battle the disease can make a world of difference. Nunnally has the wonderful NBC4 community in his corner, but there are many different ways to find support during a cancer journey.
Kate Hervey is another cancer warrior who received support after sharing her cancer journey. A young college girl, she was shocked to be diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that tends to form near large joints in young adults, after seeing her doctor for tenderness and lumps in one of her legs.
Hervey, a nursing student at Michigan State, had to handle her cancer battle during the COVID-19 pandemic and scale back on her social activities as a high-risk patient. That’s when she turned to TikTok as a creative outlet, and inspired thousands.
“One thing that was nice about TikTok that I loved and why I started posting more and more videos is how many people I was able to meet through TikTok and social media that are going through the same things,” she says. “I still text with this one girl who is 22. If I’m having a hard time, I will text her because she will understand. As much as my family and friends are supportive, it’s hard to vent to someone who doesn’t know what it’s really like.”
Hervey is now cancer-free, and says she couldn’t have done it without the love and support of her TikTok followers.
“I feel like I’ve made an impact on other people and they have made an impact on me through TikTok, which is crazy to say. I can help people go through what I’ve been going through as well.” She has graciously agreed to allow SurvivorNet to use her content in order to help our community.
So while sharing your story to a vast Tik Tok audience might not be your thing, it’s important to consider opening up to others during your cancer battle. Even if it’s with a smaller group, you never know how much the support can help you – or help those you share with – unless you try.