Hello everyone and welcome to our February 2020 issue of CONQUER: the patient voice! Once again, we have packed many articles into this new issue to empower you with information, provide hope through inspirational stories from others, and perhaps help you look at the world with a different perspective.
Whether you are a patient with cancer, have recently completed treatment, have been living as a survivor for many years, are dealing with metastatic cancer, or are a caregiver of a loved one with cancer, there is something within these pages for you.
Among the topics you will find much information related to survivorship. One article is featured in our section called “Infusion of Hope”—what an inspiring phrase! We all need an infusion of hope periodically and can get it for ourselves in a variety of ways. This person found it by going fly-fishing with her survivors’ group.
Also read a patient story focused on living with advanced cancer—stage IV ovarian cancer—and how she continues to be “living” and not just “existing.” Again, giving all of us perspective into her world as a survivor.
You have seen commercials on TV about this disease but likely haven’t had the opportunity to hear from someone living with this disease, mesothelioma. Statistically this disease is mostly in men, but this story is by a woman who has this type of cancer.
Our nurse navigator shares her cancer center’s decision to change the meaning of “ringing the bell” at the end of therapy. Surely patients will continue to ring the bell at that ceremonious time, but her team believes that all patients should have the opportunity to ring the bell, even if that time is associated with palliative care at the end of life.
And although we may not choose to talk about it much, there is a need for dialogue about what a family experiences when they lose a loved one to cancer. The article titled “Family Meeting” is all about acknowledging death, just as we do birth. It is a time that we all need to pause, because the world has lost a special person—special to their family, special for what they have accomplished in this world (even when their life was short), and special for the impact they leave on others left to grieve for them.
We would be remiss if we didn’t include an article about healthy living! The article is focused on making healthy dietary choices to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer or having a recurrence.
We hope this issue of CONQUER may inspire you to write a patient story of your own that could enlighten others, inspire patients to look at the world in a more optimistic way, and take on cancer as a disease that continues to affect 1 in 3 Americans.
This means you are not alone. There are many people living with cancer or those who have survived cancer, including myself, soon reaching 28 years as a survivor.
Keep your glass half full. Find new perspectives that are right under your nose (or attached to a fishing pole), and embrace who you are and what you have experienced. Then tell your own story in the pages of CONQUER: the patient voice.