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What to expect on a cancer journey

August 11, 2020 | Jackee Porter, RN, BSN, OCN

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There are a lot of words, thoughts, and emotions that can describe a cancer journey. Patients may find there are good days, there are bad days, and then there are the really awkward days. We often refer to this as the good, the bad, and the awkward.

The Good

Patients gain new perspective on life and they learn to slow down and enjoy the little moments. Patients often gain new family in the doctors, nurses, secretaries, medical assistants, and other members of their health care team. They find strength they never knew they had, strength that cancer tried to strip from them. Many find new faith or maybe they become more faithful. A cancer patient finds themselves a beautiful reflection of life and spirit.

The Bad

Patients have sometimes described their diagnosis as a tailspin. Patients may struggle to find stable ground or to gain control. Some are afraid to share their news with their loved ones for fear of being treated differently. There are multiple appointments and new routines to learn. The patient might have chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation. All three are scary, but necessary. There are tears, fears, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed.

Patients will be moved through the care coordination process quickly as time now matters. Time matters to reduce the growth of the disease or to gain quality of life. But, there are also limits to what can be offered and end of life discussions may have to happen, sometimes too soon. Although these bad conversations may be necessary, our team here at Fisher‐Titus will walk you through them and make sure you have the best care possible. We are often a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on as you navigate these tough talks.

The Awkward

Cancer leaves chance for some awkward moments. Moments like picking out a wig and needing help to ensure it fits just right. Or when treatment has left a patient so weak that they now need help going to the bathroom—a potty partner. Sometimes it’s hard asking for help. Paying bills and buying food can become difficult and it’s often a conversation no one wants to have. There are body changes from treatments and the cancer itself. This can leave a patient not fitting quite right into their clothes. Who knew someone could actually gain weight while going through che‐motherapy? That goes against all the preconceived notions about chemotherapy, right? In any awkward moment along the cancer journey, take comfort in knowing that we have seen it all and we will embrace those moments along with you.

The good, the bad, and the awkward of the cancer journey are moments in time that should be embraced with confidence in the care you choose…the care given by the people who choose you.

About Jackee

Jackee Porter, RN, BSN, OCN is the Oncology Nurse Supervisor at the Fisher-Titus Cancer Care Center. For over 20 years, Fisher-Titus Cancer Care Center has cared for cancer patients close to home. For more information, visit fishertitus.org/cancer.