“I Know You Mean Well, But…” Post # 10

10.  Do not believe cancer is a death sentence.

 

There are many support groups available for those diagnosed with cancer.  There are national, local and online groups.  Naming a few, there are American Cancer Society, ‘The Sisters Network, and Tennis for Life.

 There are even support groups for children whose parent(s) have been diagnosed within organizations such as Gilda’s Club. 

Within each group, you will hear testimonials of 20 – 30 year survivors who believe that healthy eating and living well will help you in the fight against the disease.  You will meet people who are going through similar diagnoses.  You will be comforted by some and learn from the mistakes of others.

The disease does not equate to death.

The disease means an adjustment in daily living and management of mind and body. 

Cancer is a mental disease.  Continue to control mind over matter.

Remember, “early diagnosis makes for a good prognosis.” 

 

Written by a three months free cancer survivor

“I Know You Mean Well, But…” Post # 9

9. Not everyone diagnosed with breast cancer will have to undergo a mastectomy.

 

There are options.  Depending on the diagnosis and stage of the cancer, there are several options available for recovery:

– A mastectomy is the surgical removal of one or both breasts to prevent the spread of cancer.

– A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure that removes tumor tissue in the breast.

– Radiation is the treatment process for cancer in which cancer cells are destroyed in order to help people become cancer free. 

– Chemotherapy is a treatment process used including various drugs to treat cancer.

One or more of the options listed (accompanied by healthy eating habits and exercise to stretch the limbs and mind) will be used to help the individual lead a closely monitored, cancer-free life.

“I Know You Mean Well, But…” Post # 8

8.  Don’t feel sorry for the patient.

Encourage them! 

Many people tend to ignore the “elephant in the room.”  Recognize the “elephant” and say, “I am here if you need me or want to talk.”  Claim victory over all lives affected by the disease of cancer.  Believe me, those words are keepsakes remembered, treasured and perhaps to be unearthed when needed.

Cancer attacks the  body and causes patients to be extremely tired.  Discomfort, frustration, exhaustion and sometimes anger may rear its head from time to time.  Be the one who lends an ear, a hand, and a shoulder to cry and lean on.  Cancer plays upon one’s self-esteem; no one wants to see pity in the eyes of the beholder. 

Tell us that you know or heard what we are facing.  It does our heart good to hear you are only a phone call away.

The actions of one multiplied by thousands, can change the world. 

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“I Know You Mean Well, But…” Post # 7

7. Do not believe that cancer only affects older people.

 

Cancer does not discriminate.  Cancer is the name for more than 100 diseases that have uncontrolled, abnormal growth of  cells that can spread into and destroy healthy tissues.  Not only can it destroy healthy tissues, it can destroy healthy minds and souls if one allows it.  Cancer can be hereditary or an isolated illness.  Cancer can strike the young, old, weak and strong.

A healthy forty six year old female can wake up one morning, arise from bed to enter the bathroom, disrobe and discover a rather large lump on her breast.  There is no pain; should it be ignored? 

No pains = no worries; wrong!

The onset of a cold or allergies prompted a doctor visit and the disclosure of the lump.  The matter of fact statement to a primary physician turned into a referral to the nearest breast center for a series of mammograms and four biopsies performed in one day.  The outcome was inevitable after such an invasive day.

 The results of a malignant tumor was discovered.  They say, early diagnosis  can lead to a good prognosis. 

 I am continuing to take every step needed to live longer and build upon my birthdays.

“I Know You Mean Well, But…” Post # 6

6.  The doctor and hospital that you used is the absolute best and come highly recommended.

 

There are many qualified surgeons and hospitals to handle patients who are diagnosed with cancer everyday.  Some doctors and hospitals have a better marketing department to promote their abilities than others.  Some staff have grants and more funding than its competitors.  Please don’t sell your surgeon and hospital as if that is the only option available.  I know you mean well, I really do, but remember each person’s needs are different.  What worked for you may not necessarily work for the next person.  Don’t make someone second guess themselves or feel doubtful because their choice is different from yours.

 

Some people like experienced doctors, others prefer young doctors who may be on the cutting edge of medicine and clinical trials.  Some patients prefer doctors who attended schools that are familiar; some like doctors of the same hue.  Ask if a second opinion is needed.  If so, you should definitely relate your professional experience with doctors and hospitals known to you.  Always offer your guidance of suggestion and leave it there.  Please don’t take offense if you are not called upon.    It is not about you at this time; let’s focus on the person in need.

Whatever makes the soon to be operated on individual comfortable; so be it.

 

At the end of the day, the doctor chosen has most certainly earned his/her PhD.

 

The surgeon and the patient will co-navigate the path towards recovery and do just fine.  Successful treatment can happen when a rapport is built between a surgeon, plastic surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and patient.  Let’s not forget the nurses and front desk staff.    Each person plays an integral part in the well-being of the patient.    At the end of the day, let’s celebrate one another’s victory and triumph.

“I Know You Mean Well, But…” Post # 5

5. Everyone’s experience with cancer will not be the same. 

 

No two people will have the same experience.  There are options in the treatment of cancer.  The patient needs to make an informed decision on the option that is chosen.  One patient may have a lumpectomy; another may have a mastectomy.  One patient may have radiation; one may need chemotherapy and radiation.  Some may need a combination of the treatments mentioned or no treatment at all (which is the best case scenario!)  Your course of treatment is your medical footprint in your life.  Don’t state what is to be expected; simply offer to discuss your course of action. 

A recently diagnosed person is scared and confused.  He/she is discussing their health with doctors, family members, friends and well wishers.  You see where I am going with these lines of communication?  You could potentially confuse the person and instill more fear than necessary. 

Answer questions when asked but too much advice may be comprehension overload.

 Readers, please understand that I am not bashing your well intentions, just offering thoughts from the mind of a survivor.

“I Know You Mean Well, but…” Post # 3

3. Don’t say you are going to visit a person and not show up.

 

Yes, everyone is very busy.  Life and shit happens whether good, bad or indifferent.  Remember, I am at home, mandated to bed rest after having major surgery.  I can’t get in the car and drive to a desired destination.  I can’t pick up the phone at chat with you for hours on end because you are at work and have other responsibilities.  But know I am expecting your visit.  Your call.  If you tell me you are coming, I am making an effort to clean the house.  Make it smell good.  Hide all of my medicinal supplies.  It is very disappointing if you don’t show up and not call.  I think I don’t matter to you.  The best way to mess up a relationship is for one or both people to assume what is going on.  You know what happens when you ASSUME (you make an ass out of you and me). 

I am not as strong and invisible as it may appear.  I am actually afraid and welcome your company.  I may seem tired and out of it because I am!  Try taking pain killers every 4-6 hours to function.  I welcome the opportunity to take may mind off of looking in the mirror every time I undress for a shower or have to clean the dressings covering my scars and see the remains of what used to be.  Just because I am tired does not mean I need rest.  I have all day and night to rest but for now, I want to enjoy you and your company.  We do not even have to say much, we can watch a movie or one of my favorite judge shows.  Judge Mathis will entertain us for a good hour, guaranteed!   Know that I appreciate you and your time alloted to spend with me.  There is a saying that it “takes a village to raise a child” well it “takes a village to nurse one of their own back to health.”

 

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