Thursday, September 19, 2013

Things cancer has taught me

I found an article written about what she learned from her mother's cancer. I can tell you its also things I have learned:
  1. Doctors do not have all the answers but that can be okay. I think we are taught that doctors know everything and will have the answer for every ache and pain. But with cancer we quickly learn they do not. But that can be okay. We can educate ourselves and remain satisfied with our care. Also we cannot expect the doctors to make the big decisions for us. They suggest courses of treatment but we can make our own decisions as to which ones to choose.
    I have learned not to follow blindly the medical guidance but to question and discuss decisions in ways I had never thought I would.
  2. Sometimes patients don't want to talk about their cancer or other ailment. We are people. We do not live on the live reality station called "Cancer 24/7". We go to the grocery store, we shop on line, we go out to dinner, we have friends, we do laundry. Its sort of like the pages in People magazine where real stars are caught doing normal things - like playing in the park with their children or pumping gas.
    Cancer people are people too. So stop asking us how we "really" feel (with that knowing wink) every time you see us. Its annoying after a while.
  3. There are many people can't deal with a cancer diagnosis. Those friends that brought you home made chicken noodle soup when you had the flu? Forget them, you may never see them again. The friends who stick by you are your real friends. You need to learn to make new friends who aren't scared of your diagnosis.
  4. People are changed by their cancer diagnosis. There is some mystery about this new normal they are supposed to achieve (that doesn't really exist) but a cancer diagnosis is basically a life changing event. Cancer people have no control over this but they really do learn about what is more important in life and how physical limitations can change them.
  5. Caregivers are also affected by the cancer diagnosis. They do not realize about the bonds they have to the patient and how the other person changes will affect them as well.
I have learned more but this is a start. A cancer diagnosis should come with an instruction booklet so we can find out what we are experiencing is normal.

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