In cruising that vast sea of information (a/k/a wasting time online) called the internet, I ran across an article on how childhood cancer survivors don't get enough follow ups even though they are more likely to develop later cancers. I thought (a little only - I promise - too much thinking causes problems) and found several points in the article worthy of comment:
- Cancer causes PTSD. Well I can buy that one. Being hit by the cancer bus is really more like being sideswiped by the giant cancer semi as it roars through your life and takes out all sense of normalcy for a long time. I was going to write for months but its really longer than months. And I am not sure you can ever go back to normal. They call it finding your new normal. Well, I liked my old non-PTSD, cancer free normal just fine.
- Childhood cancer patients are less likely to get follow ups they need. Well, part of a cancer diagnosis is living with it. My feeling is if they told you once you had cancer, what else can they tell you that's bad? Not much.
- If you had cancer you need to be followed up by an oncologist, not a general practitioner. I didn't know this (see I'm not that smart). I never went to an oncologist until I needed chemo with breast cancer. I went to an endocrinologist for a while and then she retired and said I could just go to a regular general internal medicine doctor. But I did talk to my oncologist and will now go back to an endocrinologist just to check things out.
Now I am not a childhood cancer survivor because that is the age group of up to 15. But I was 19. I think that these lessons apply to anyone who is a long term cancer survivor.