This new issue includes information that will give you knowledge, peace of mind (confirming that what you are thinking and feeling is normal), and words of wisdom that I hope you will apply to your own life. Here are just a few of the highlights.
Several articles discuss different aspects of cancer survivorship. Read about the importance of feeling grateful—life lessons you may have learned but have not thought about until now, what new life goals you may want to set for yourself, and ways to celebrate milestones.
I am a firm believer that there is power in information. Although sometimes people shy away from genetic testing, knowing if you do or don’t carry a specific gene mutation can empower you to make smarter life choices. Read our patient’s story about this important aspect of cancer risk evaluation.
And read the story from a cancer survivor who says, “Your journey is your journey.” This is really a profound statement. Friends and family members may have expectations of how you are supposed to react, respond, behave, or conduct yourself, but they are not the ones going through the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Don’t get me wrong, your loved ones are hurting for you and are worrying about you. Still, only you can determine how you are going to cope each day with bad news, good news, and even no news.
One survivor wrote about “finding good in bad.” To me this means keeping your glass half full instead of half empty. And read about a nurse who shares his experience of being a caregiver to his wife’s very elderly mother who is dying of cancer, while living with them in their home. No matter what kind of cancer it is, or what age the patient is, many “changes” and adjustments are required to enable this situation to work well for everyone. His story tells us that while they made changes and are embracing and experiencing being the final caregiver of their loved one, this is a positive experience that will be cherished for a long time.
We like to include articles from navigators, so you can become educated about the important role they have for patients. Read the story of the role of an American Cancer Society navigator to learn how she supports her patients with cancer in a personal way.
Fear of recurrence is by far the greatest fear that cancer survivors have. Although I am 28 years after my first cancer diagnosis, I still get heartburn when seeing any of my doctors, even if just for the flu. It never quite leaves your mind. However, letting it control your life is a huge mistake. So put those fears in their place, so you can enjoy your survivorship and accomplish more wonderful things. Scanxiety should only be given a few minutes of your time!
Sex—did I just type the word “sex”? What does that have to do with cancer? A lot! Rarely does a doctor bring this topic up, and rarely does a patient either. There is an interview with a physician who discusses this subject that people are afraid to talk about. Sexuality, intimacy, and sexual activity are part of who we are. It shouldn’t disappear because we were diagnosed with cancer, and it deserves discussion so that patients can learn what affects sexual activity, what to expect during treatment, and why talking with your care provider about it is smart.
There are many other articles you will find inspiring. (I don’t want to spoil all of the fun.) So, sit outside, sunblock and hat on, and start reading!