Category: Advice

Eight gifts for people with cancer

Eight gifts for people with cancer
People with cancer, whether they’re in treatment, in remission, or in limbo are different now than before their diagnosis, both psychologically and physically. Some folks talk about cancer as a one-year experience from diagnosis through treatment and into remission. It’s “one and done.” Those folks have been lucky. Many are not so lucky because they struggle... Read more »

Being known helps to navigate the cancer experience

Being known helps to navigate the cancer experience
I wrote a few weeks ago about the words, “fellowship of knowing.” They resonate deeply with me, and so did the person who spoke them. Dawn Williams, LCSW, an oncology social worker with the DuPage Medical Group, was a keynote speaker at a cancer conference sponsored by the Cancer Support Center in September. The only... Read more »

To the woman at Starbucks: your mom deserves better than your contempt

Dear Woman in Starbucks, I’ll own the fact that I was in a judgmental place a few days ago when I saw you and your family at Starbucks. Your story is, no doubt, complicated and full of gray. I can never know what your lives are like, what you’ve suffered and how you’ve struggled. All... Read more »
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You don't have to remain upbeat and positive about cancer

I’ve been working with a student all semester, trying to help her complete my class. She’s smart, a good writer, hard working, and conscientious. And, her grandmother has cancer. She’s been at her bedside whenever she can be. Today in class, she told me that her grandmother died over the weekend. Another student’s father has... Read more »

2016 Bladder Cancer Guidelines: two recommended ways to see tumors and prevent recurrence

2016 Bladder Cancer Guidelines: two recommended ways to see tumors and prevent recurrence
Bladder cancer has the highest rate of recurrence of any cancer at 50 to 80 percent. Researchers know that failure to see and remove all existing cancer during the initial surgery, called transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) is one reason for the high rate. If you can’t see the cancer, then you can’t remove... Read more »

The cancer excuse: don't upstage the person who's suffering

The cancer excuse: don't upstage the person who's suffering
It is a short drive from another person’s trauma to your own suffering. I’ll be the first to admit that bad things don’t happen to just one person because we are not islands. Trauma and illness spread out their suffering, concentric circles in a pond after a stone is thrown in. It’s hard to watch... Read more »
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Stop health ‘splaining and gaslighting: try listening instead

Stop health ‘splaining and gaslighting: try listening instead
I see you over there in the corner. You with the “Komen for the cure” pink ribbon. You with treatment behind you. And, you too: you know someone who knows someone who had just my kind of cancer. I see you. And hear you. You don’t see me, though. Because you’re too busy sharing uplifting... Read more »

This is how to make your Monday even more miserable

This is how to make your Monday even more miserable
I’m living the cliché. It’s a perfectly awful Monday morning, and I’m grumpy about it. I got out of bed with plans that have, one by one, been foiled. It’s been an exercise in frustration that I shared with my husband over the phone while he was driving. I was rude and loud. If I’m... Read more »

Don’t use Yelp and Healthgrades to choose your doctor: do this instead

Don’t use Yelp and Healthgrades to choose your doctor: do this instead
Right after I was diagnosed with cancer, I started digging into research about my doctor. I initially met him through the arbitrary process of being admitted to the hospital via the ER of my local hospital. He was on call that Monday evening. This is no way to choose a doctor, especially when you’re facing... Read more »
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Five reasons you should write if you have cancer

Five reasons you should write if you have cancer
I had been wanting to start a blog for several years when I was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2012. I was torn about it. Although I’ve always been a writer, and lord knows I have too much to say, I felt that I didn’t have a good theme or topic for a blog.... Read more »