[feature post] Dear Every Cancer Patient I Ever Took Care Of, I’m Sorry. I Didn’t Get It.

Dear every cancer patient I ever took care of, I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

This thought has been weighing heavy on my heart since my diagnosis. I’ve worked in oncology nearly my entire adult life. I started rooming and scheduling patients, then worked as a nursing assistant through school, and finally as a nurse in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. I prided myself in connecting with my patients and helping them manage their cancer and everything that comes with it. I really thought I got it- I really thought I knew what it felt like to go through this journey. I didn’t.

I didn’t get what it felt like to actually hear the words. I’ve been in on countless diagnoses conversations and even had to give the news myself on plenty of occasions, but being the person the doctor is talking about is surreal. You were trying to listen to the details and pay attention, but really you just wanted to keep a straight face for as long as it took to maybe ask one appropriate question and get the heck out of there fast. You probably went home and broke down under the weight of what you had just been told. You probably sat in silence and disbelief for hours until you had to go pretend everything was fine at work or wherever because you didn’t have any details yet and wanted to keep it private still. You probably didn’t even know where to start and your mind went straight to very dark places. That day was the worst. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how hard the waiting is. It’s literally the worst part. The diagnosis process takes forever. The different consults, the biopsies, the exams and procedures… and the scans. Ugh, the scans. You were going through the motions trying to stay positive- but at that point, you had no idea what you were dealing with and the unknown was terrifying. Knowing the cancer is there and knowing you’re not doing anything to treat is yet is an awful, helpless feeling. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how awkward it was to tell other people the news. You didn’t know what to say. They didn’t know what to say. No one knew what to say- but there was some relief when the word started to spread. It may have been overwhelming to reply to all the calls and messages- and to get used to others knowing such personal information, but this nasty secret you’d been keeping was finally out and your support system was growing. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how much you hung on to every word I said to you. You replayed it in your mind a hundred times. Did I really mean this or that… you wondered if you understood. You called me again to make sure. And maybe another time because your friend asked “well, what about _____”. You asked your other nurses to see if you got the same answer. Please know we are happy to take a million calls a day with the same questions until you can make sense of it. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how much you googled. I told you not to do it. You did it, a lot- and so did I. Searching for information, hope, stories like yours, reassurance. It was impossible not to. My new stance is to just know what a good source is when you google. I’ll help you learn to filter the information. And I promise to give you more information, because I know how much you crave it. It’s not realistic to think you will have the willpower to not search at all (at least it wasn’t for me). I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get what it felt like to get the sad looks all the time. Walking down the hall at work or seeing someone for the first time after finding out. You got the head tilt with a soft “how aaaare you?” You quickly got together your rehearsed “Doing pretty good, tired but hanging in there”generic response. Don’t get me wrong, I know you appreciated all the well wishes and concern- but it sure took a little while to get used to the pity. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get what really goes on at all those “other appointments”. I knew what to tell you to expect at your oncology appointments- but all the different types of scans, radiation, operating room, procedural areas- I didn’t really know what went on behind the scenes there and what to tell you. I should’ve known more about the whole picture. I should’ve been able to warn you that there was an hour wait after a dose of medication before you could actually have a scan. I should’ve been able to tell you what you can and can’t eat or drink before a certain procedure or that some treatments require going every single day. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how weird it felt to be called “brave”. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot, yeah it kind of made you feel good- but you still didn’t really understand why people would call you this. Sure you were getting through it fine (most days), but it’s not like you had a choice. I’m getting treatment because I have to- doesn’t really make me feel like much of a hero. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how crazy this makes you. Like you literally wondered if you had lost every working brain cell. Especially when dealing with side effects or other symptoms. You could’ve had every side effect in the book from chemo or none at all and you’d still wonder if it’s really working the way it’s supposed to. You may just have had a headache, or a common cold, or a sore joint- but you were never certain it wasn’t related to your cancer and always wondered if it was a sign of progression, even when it made no sense. I hope you didn’t feel dismissed when you called me to ask about it and I said not to worry. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get why you were always suspicious. You couldn’t help but wonder if they all knew something you didn’t about your prognosis. We shared the percentages and stats with you – and that every cancer is different … but still- is there something more? Something they were protecting you from or just felt too bad to tell you? Logically, I know the answer to this but find myself with these feelings as well. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how confusing “options” really were. In some cases, there may be more than one choice. Whether this be physicians, medications, sequence of treatment, etc-  I would try my best to help you understand every angle, but more options many times just meant more confusion. You wanted to be involved in your own care- but the stress of too many options was sometimes too much. You begged me for my input and to tell you what I would do if it were me. I hated that question, but I hear you now. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how hard it is to accept help. Especially the moms. This just wasn’t something you’re used to doing- but you needed it. You felt shy about admitting that you’re not sure you could’ve gotten through the first few months without the extra food, gift cards, support, and other help you were given. You felt humbled at the outpouring and just only hoped you would’ve done the same for them. You still wonder if you said thank you enough or if you missed an opportunity to give back. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get the mood swings. One day you felt confident that you’d completely beat this with no problem; you felt like you could take over the world. And for no good reason, the next day you were just convinced yours was going to be one of those sad stories people tell their friends about. The moods snuck up on you without warning. Literally anything could’ve been a trigger. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get that when you said you were tired, you really meant so much more. Sure there are words like exhaustion and extreme fatigue- but there should really be a separate word just for cancer patients, because it’s crippling. Really. Some days you really wondered how you’d trudge forward. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how much time this really takes away from your life. I always used phrases like “Cancer is like getting another full time job” or “Life doesn’t stop for cancer” when trying to prep you for what you were about to embark on. But now they just seem like corny catch phrases. It completely took over, you had to stop doing things you love, you had to cancel plans, you had to miss out on things that were important to you. It just wasn’t in any plans- and that alone took a lot of mourning. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how strange it was to see your body changing so quickly. You stood there and looked at yourself in disbelief in the mirror. Maybe it was extreme swelling, maybe it was scars, maybe it was hair loss, maybe it was pounds melting away when you do everything in your power to eat as much as you can. It’s hard- your appearance is tied more closely to your identity than you’d like to admit and these were constant reminders of what you were up against. You just wanted to feel like yourself. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get that it hurts to be left out. People didn’t invite you to things anymore. People felt like they can’t complain or vent about every day annoyances to you anymore. People acted differently towards you and it hurt a bit. You certainly didn’t blame them- you had even done the same to others when traumatic life events happened—and no you didn’t want to go out for drinks anyway because you don’t feel good. But you needed normalcy. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get how much you worried about your kids. For this, I’m the most regretful. I should’ve talked to you more about them- and not just in terms of lifting restrictions or germs. You worried about how this was going to affect them. You worried about not being able to keep up with them or care for them properly on your bad days. You worried they’d be scarred and confused. You worried about leaving them. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get the guilt you felt. Especially to those who are married. You thought about how unfair it was that your spouse had to pick up so much slack- mentally to help keep you focused and calm, and physically at home pulling double weight with never-ending every day chores. You understood that everyone promises “in sickness and in health” when you get married- but you still felt like they didn’t deserve this. You felt thankful when your spouse would say “go get some rest and I’ll take care of the kids” but your heart hurt overhearing them play in the other room away from you- wondering if that was a glimpse into their future that didn’t have you in it. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get that it never ends. Never. I used to tell you that cancer will be just a phase in your life. Just like high school or something- it seems like it drags on and on when you’re in it, but soon it’ll all be a memory. I’m sorry if this made you feel marginalized – it is not a phase. Yes, there are phases- the treatment won’t last forever, but you are changed now. The worrying won’t stop, the uncertainty won’t stop, the fear of recurrence or an awful end won’t stop. I hear that gets better- time will tell. And time is precious. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

I do have to admit; I’ve probably had it a little easier than you to start off. I know the language, I know all the right people, I work where I get treatment so sure- it’s more convenient. I watched so many of you march through this terrible nightmare with a brave face and determination- without knowing one thing about cancer ahead of time, other than knowing you didn’t ever want to get it. You’ve always been my inspiration and I love each and every one of you. Nothing brings me more joy that when I see you reach your goals and slowly put yourself back together. I love when we get visits or notes from those of you who are several years out and doing great- it’s good for the oncology nurses’ soul. Even though healthcare workers don’t really know what it’s like to be you (well, us) it’s ok. Nobody does. I just hope that I was still able to give you a little guidance and strength to help you get through your cancer treatment. Even if I didn’t get it.

Love,
Lindsay, Oncology RN

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572 comments

  1. Well said Lindsay. This is exactly how we all feel going through the diagnosis of cancer. You do not need to apologize in any way. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years ago. Unfortunately I am a rare case of not getting my hair back or my eyebrows from the chemo drug Taxotere. I now look like a perpetual cancer patient. It has been very devastating for me. I now wear wigs and hats and recently get a henna tattoo on my head in the summer. I am becoming more brave. Thank you again for your lovely letter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lindsay well said. I too am a nurse ( not oncology) , I also pride myself in believing that I understand how my patients and families feel during there difficult times but once I was diagnosed with cancer the way I thought changed. I was so desperate for people to understand that cancer isn’t just a disease that you get treatment for and then your done. I wanted so badly for the people closest to me to truly understand my heart, my mind, my aches, my pains and to know how deeply cancer effects us. The thing I realized was that my loved ones could never understand how I was feeling unless they themselves had cancer . They could empathize and have sympathy for me but never truly understand what I was going through and that’s okay . Sadly one doesn’t get it until they actually get it, that been cancer, so there was a part of me that was thankful that they didn’t get it. They didn’t get what I was going through and I didn’t get what they where going through . It was enough just to know that they where at least there to help me get through it even if they didn’t get it. One day a very close friend called me and said to me ” I’m sorry, I get it”
      Yes she did it been cancer. My heart broke for her, her family and myself.
      On the positive side I’m 3 years out from stage 3c inflammatory breast cancer and remain NED, my friend is 1 1/2 years out stage 2 IDC remains NED
      Also thank you for your words, they brought me to tears.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a pediatric RN who is now battling cancer, your words are ALL true! We think we get it, but we didn’t. I can NOT believe how you hit the nail on the head on every topic! Thank you for making us all aware of the REAL story! I have experienced it all!

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  3. Very nice article. Nobody can know what you are going through, everyone is on their own journal. Thanks to Onc nurses for doing and caring the best that you can. Let yourself of the hook for not getting it. Thanks!

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  4. In 2014, I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, and it spread to my lymph nodes. All the feelings, the fear, everything you said is what we go through, it is how I wished I could express myself. The first thing I said when I had to tell my husband and family, I apologized.

    I just kept saying, I am sorry. I did not have support. I have a big family, and we live in the same town, but I was alone. My family has had many tragedies. I guess they could not handle me having cancer. It was hell. But somehow we manage to fight.

    Unless you have had cancer, you can not know. I know you made a big impact on those who you took care of. We will never forget our nurses or those who just smiled when we walk through that door. So please do not be so hard on yourself.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are amazing! You get us patients through this nightmare!
      I will never ever forget those who nursed me through my journey/trauma/ nightmare/
      I am here 13 years later due to the empathy and care i was given during my treatment by people like you…selfless, compassionate, kind, optimistic, caring…I could go on… 🙂
      The thing is Lindsay is NO ONE GETS IT!
      It’s personal, everones journey through this is different! Even though I’ve had cancer, I still don’t know how somebody else is doing, just like you, I can empathise, be supportive and be kind and caring. But YOU nurses, consultants and every other helper within the hospital help us get to the other side 🙂
      Love and hugs are sent to you 🙂 I wish you the best in life x

      Liked by 2 people

    • I can totally relate to this. I used to be an Operating Department Practitioner and have assisted during mastectomies, reconstructions, scans, xrays etc. I had no idea what these ladies were going through until now.
      I was diagnosed in October 2014 and had a mastectomy and at this time awaiting for reconstructive surgery.
      I remember sympathising with with ladies when they came into the anaesthetic room. It was all I saw, just the ladies coming into theatres. I never saw their journey before surgery or after. I think about this a lot and hope that I treated them with dignity.
      It’s been a long journey

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you, Lindsay. It’s as if you were reading my mind. After all the good work you’ve done as an oncology nurse, you have nothing yo apologize for. I wish you strength, optimism and the love of friends and family to keep you going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lindsay,
      So we’ll written. I too am an oncology nurse and a cancer survivor. I applaud you for writing this. I thank you for the work you do. We all do the best we can for our patients. Best wishes always.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I loved my oncology nurses. They made the treatment bearable . Please don’t think you didn’t get it- I wish you were not in the position where you now “. Get it” . You have helped so many people through your career

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great article, should be printed and given to all patients & their families to read to give them an understanding of what they will feel, the changes in their bodies, what they will experience as they fight to get through this terrible disease. They are not alone in their battle with Cancer!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As a cancer pt I love this – but what I want to say to nurses is that it’s ok that you don’t ‘know’ – I’m glad you have been there and noticed when I’ve been upset , given me the information I’ve needed to keep myself safe , and treated me with compassion and empathy – you didn’t have to ‘know’ and I’m glad you didn’t ‘know’

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  8. Lindsay, I’m sorry you are having to go through this. God Bless you. Your article was so spot on, I have had cancer 5 times and therefore have been able to share with friends going through it for the first time many of the things you talked about. It seems to help others when you can be honest about what to expect and the empathy goes a long way to giving them comfort. Thank you also to all you oncology nurses who are a gift from God at a time when life is really hard and confusing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. No one really knows how devastating it is to hear the words you’re child has cancer. What it takes for a parent to keep the family together that is kids and spouse. The pain is real my heart was forever shattered and yes I am grateful my daughter is still with us but the fear is real to relapse for another cancer to take her away. I was not strong, I did what I had to, no time to second guess. Could not let my kids see my pain.
    Thankful I am for the nurses that told me not to google, prepare my child to loose her hair, and prepared her for treatment when I was to hurt to be in the room. Thankful to the nurse that took me into her cancer support caregiver group even if it was not, for mom’s of cancer children. It is just sad we have to wait 2yrs after our child’s cancer treatment to be in a cancer survivor clinic. The 2yrs post treatment are so hard and confusing and yes PSTD is real.

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  10. I shared your article on my facebook page. Every single word you wrote was true for this mom who went through treatment when my boys were 14 and 12 – old enough to know.
    I would catch them standing at the door of my room watching me sleep; Lord knows the fearful thoughts they must have had.
    One thing that was difficult for my children to understand was the “where did everybody go” after chemo was over?
    We were fortunate to have a significant amount of help in the neighborhood and through our church but, once active treatment was over – we were left standing with the handful of inner circle friends that we started with. We had to dig deep as a family and recognize the long haul was on us. People who have not been affected by a cancer diagnosis have no idea there is collateral damage – fears over every ache and pain, a life uncertain but, still thankful that we are here.
    Thank you for the words, compassion and understanding.
    Bless you on your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for saying is so well. My litter struggled with this for 15 year and I “thought” I got it.
    Then I heard the dreaded word myself last year, only 5 months after her passing and I realized I never “got” it. I wish I couldn’t tell Her that now, finally, I get it.
    I often just say I don’t fee week because I don’t know how to explain, but you wrote as if you were in my head; I guess because we are all on the same boat.
    Thank you for taking the time to write this on our behalf, and wishing you all the best.

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  12. cancer is the scary word nobody wants to say hear or even experience but we do I have thru my daughter, endless friends and family in the past and in the present and it seems forever more its endless torture and pain and anxiety and disbelief it is happenening to someone you love I have just lost a dear friend who fought to live but it just beat her down my daughter is 10 yrs clear and I thank whoever kept her safe for me to love a bit longer and I do, to everyone suffering now I wish you all well love and support to live another day as life is so precious.xand your letter was utterly true in every way x

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for so eloquently putting into words what so many of us that have gone through this have thought. The fear of recurrence is real – even though I’m 12 years out from stage 3B triple-negative breast cancer (including nodes), it is always in the back of my mind. I just never share it with anyone. It’s affected my relationships (I’m single after divorcing my non-supportive ex) – I’m always in fear of starting a new relationship. Not just because of my “Franken-boob”, but the fear it will come back and I will become a burden. I think of my mortality often. Therapy helps with this.

    Oncology nurses are angels on Earth as far as I’m concerned. You get more about this than you think you do…They made me feel like a human, not just a patient.

    Wishing you complete success with your treatment – and peace of mind in your future. Those are the best two things any of us can ever wish for! Now – go rock this out!! 😘

    Thanks again!!

    ~Jenn

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  14. Wow…that’s all I can say…God Bless you and your words…the only thing I would have changed was the name at the bottom…and a patient perspective – the nurses throughout my journey will never be forgotten…you are appreciated more than you know! Still fighting but survived!

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  15. Lindsay, I think you’re being too hard on yourself. You sound like a very compassionate person and remember until we walk in the other persons shoes we never really get it…I wish for you a full recovery as you travel this hard road. May you feel the love of family and friends.
    Peace & Love…Patricia

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  16. An amazing read! I was diagnosed in feb 2012…..it was as if I wasn’t in the same room when my doctor was telling me what I was up against….I remember just looking around the room like, is he talking to me? About me? I had so many side effects from chemo…..I remember asking my oncologist, will I ever get my body back? I couldn’t go up and down the stairs, get in and out of bed, forget about turning over, everything I did was a challenge…..The support I received from family and friends was awesome! I always kept very positive, not once did I ever think I was going to die……I’m here today, 4 years later, running up and down the stairs! Getting in and out of bed! I’m at the healthiest and happiest I have been in a very long time! I thank my team of doctors and nurses, my family and friends, and every single person I met along the way in my journey, every single day! You too will get through your journey…..stay positive, you will in fact get your life back in time….

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wonderful Lindsay. Thank you for sharing your remarkable letter with us. It brought tears to my eyes. I hope you are well and back to doing the things you love to do, I also think your cancer patients are blessed to have you. It takes a special heart to be such a nurse. Bless you!

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  18. I constantly sobbed reading this. I stopped several times to get myself together so i could finish. I was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma (a stomach cancer). I had my stomach removed..It was a long horrifying year but with God’s grace and mercy, I’m cancer free and doing well. Every journey is different but every cancer victim has these feelings. I loved all my nurses..God bless you..I think you’ve got it!

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  19. oh Lindsey… your heart is as big as all out doors. I was in tears reading this having gone through my own cancer battle 11years ago…
    As a nurse I would never expect you to 100% understand… you simply can’t until you are in it yourself. Besides, being an oncology nurse? I would think you would need to have a bit of a buffer so your heart wouldn’t be broken a million times over when a patient gets bad news, or worse yet, doesn’t make it…. I would never WANT my nurse to know intimately what we go through as a patient… Your life is irrevocably changed the minute you hear those 3 words.. “You have cancer” nothing will ever be the same… but you will find the new normal… and when you come out the other side, you’ll look back and know you are stronger than you ever thought you could be… sending you all my love, all the healing energy And anything else you need … ❤
    You will overcome… and be all the better for it.

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  20. It’s Joanne. Survivor of BC 6 years. How perfect that was as that is exactly much of how we feel and what we experience. You are one amazing nurse and remarkable woman. I just published a book that addresses much of these feelings and challenges and insightful and positive like you. Thank you for this. It means you care and really get us and thanks for sharing. You are a special person in your patients lives.

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  21. I am a physician who was diagnosed and treated for a cancer in 2011. I am a cancer surgeon. Fortunately, it was not a cancer I treat and I stayed off the internet for good reason. But Lindsay, everything you wrote is so true and poignantly stated. In my case, my colleagues treated me as if I would break. My family assumed I could take care of myself since I took care of so many other people. I was terrified and am still very suspect about my future. But like everyone reading this, I wake up in the morning, say thanks and go about my business. My cancer patients were my life and got good attention. Now they are my brothers and sisters in arms and I hear myself talking with them. I am a better doctor and remain a scared patient. I agree, there is nothing brave about getting cancer. It is scary as all get up. But I stumble on. I get a ton of strength by observing my patients who often are in much worse condition than I am. They ARE brave.

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  22. Lindsey. You certainly hit the nail on the head in each paragraph you wrote. I have wonderful oncology nurses as yourself. Thank you for all the care I’m sure you have given your patients. Takes special people to do your job. Love each and every one of my nurses. Mine is chronic ovarian and I truly believe it’s all about attitude. Good luck to you in your journey with this dreadful disease. Will keep you in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Lindsey – Thank you. I’m sorry that now you get it. I’m sorry that one has to go through it in order to really get it. As long as we come out the other side, we will live to fight another day and hopefully be able to put that fear of recurrence in a little box up on the shelf. What has changed in me is I no longer wonder how I will pass, just when I will pass. I am thankful for everyone who helped me through the journey.

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  24. Dear Lindsay – nothing to apologize for considering none of us who are in this “sisterhood” together (when we didn’t ask to be) knew what to expect at any point in time, after the DREADED three-word diagnosis.
    As an Oncology nurse, you WERE doing what we needed, which was comfort, love, support. And now you are in the same spot we’ve ALL been in, at one time or another, when a friend and/or loved one told us they had cancer. We did what we FELT was right, what we THOUGHT was right – but until you’ve actually been THERE, can you even begin to understand. My analogy is (because I’ve actually seen this happen) – as women, those of us who’ve given birth to children can tell those women who haven’t, EXACTLY what it’s like to be pregnant and give birth. You can explain it down to the very last detail. But until they’ve actually done it themselves, they still don’t understand completely. We have the same types of bodies, carry babies pretty much the same way, give birth pretty much the same way – and probably to some small extent, they can understand…….but that’s all. It’s not at all like the REAL THING. So no apologizes.
    Just having our Oncologist, their PAs, and their nurses there when we have a Dr. visit, and getting comfort from people who at least have studied this disease counts for so much.
    I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2010, at the age of 51. Went through all the “stuff” – chemo, surgeries, radiation, medications, etc. And I found out this year, 2 months shy of my “5-year anniversary” through a routine PET scan that it had metastized. I now have a spot on my spine and one on my left hip. So the “Sneaky Bastard” (as I called my cancer) was back. I’ve been on a new treatment since March and have been told that I’ll have another PET Scan sometime at the end of the year to see how my treatment is working.
    The first go round was such a SHOCK that I pretty much did a lot of crying, thinking I was going to die, scrapping the BOTTOM of the depression barrel, and so forth. But I made it thru, with MUCH thanks to God. I did pray, a lot, to not have any recurrences, but unfortunately it happened anyway.
    I don’t know why as I don’t have the answers to everything, just as I don’t know why some women only get it one time and live the rest of their lives without getting it again. I TRULY wanted to be one of those women.
    But since I’m not, I just decided that this go-round, I would be more optimistic, eat healthier, stop stressing so much, and maybe – JUST maybe – that will help. But God only knows what is in store for us, so I am also trying to come to terms with that also, in case the cancer is what takes me eventually.
    No one lives forever, but I was certainly hoping for a long, long life. Maybe I’ll still get it, but for now, I’m learning (even though it’s hard sometimes) to live life each day as it comes, as opposed to looking at many years ahead.
    I realized my first go-round, that if I spend ALL my time worrying about dying, then I’m not really living, So to be living, that’s exactly what I have to do with whatever time I have left – whether it be a year, 5 years, 10 years, 30 years. But since I don’t know how long it will be, and there’s no one who can tell me either, then the best thing for me to do is to live each day as best I can…………and just hope those days will turn into many years.
    Give yourself a break, Lindsay, you didn’t ask for them any more than we did. Love yourself, take care of yourself, because this is not an easy road to go down. Do what you must to get through and love yourself and your family each and every day.
    God Bless You!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jennifer, I to am a stage 4 breast cancer patient. I was five years and one month when I found out my cancer had returned to my spine. I am also on a new treatment and so far it’s been working, but leave me tired daily. I can no longer work and have a normal life as I had before. But, I feel blessed to be here and can still enjoy my grandchildren. Each day is a blessing. My prayers and blessings to you on your journey. You’re not alone.

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  25. Thano you for those inspiring words that cover every facet of the challenge that is cancer treatment and recovery!
    Hope you are happy and healthy!
    Kindest regards,
    Jason Jorgensen

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This is really good! I want to add it also feels pretty embarrassing to be around doctors and staff that are acting like grown-ups when my cancer stuff has regressed a 60-something-year-old into a whining 5-year-old who wants her mommy. Also that all the doctors start off as “bad guys” that I don’t like until the news improves.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Lindsay, This is well written and will help others who read it to kind of get an idea if what it is like to be living with cancer. I say, kind of, since until we walk the road ourselves, it never reaches the heart to refine it.
    Even though I moved in with my parents during the last 8 months of my dad’s life, I will still never fully understand what my mom and dad experienced though the experience has definitely opened my eyes and my heart. I am more compassionate and understanding in new areas.
    I want to say thank-you! I takes a special human being to be an oncology nurse. You guys inspire and love. There are a couple nurses that my mom still communicates with. You add a bit a normalcy in the monotony of cancer. Share things about your family and life and they will do the same. Thank you again. I will be praying for you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I have survived two cancers. I just had chemo yesterday and brought my nurses & staff some nice pastries. I love them. I’ve had two teams for each cancer. One at Memorial Sloan and the other at Smilow. I put them on a pedestal. But I just wanted to say Thanks & You do get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Some of what you describe is as if I’ve written a part of this article! I absolutely love my nurses, each one has an amazing soul and I sailed through chemo with their help. You’re doing Gods work, and for that my family and I will be forever grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Great post. Coming up to 3 years in remission I can tell you it does get easier, but like you say it’s always there, lurking, somewhere in the background.

    You get it.

    I wish you spacious MRI’s , smiles in the waiting room, short waits for results and good sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. As a father, former pastor, as deeply engaged with our family, knowing, tasting, witnessing a relentless love operating in our family, (often much more expressively, openly, potently, freely than “many”), I have found myself wondering, similarly, whether, when, IF it’s possible to understand, to “get it”, fully.

    It is with a particularly poignant, aggravatingly debilitating sense of helplessness with which I/we attempt to “walk alongside” our suffering child, and his/her spouse/children, even as others, who also love the whole of our family/friends, attempt to walk alongside with us.

    This disease, as many others also, reveals both the best and worst parts of being human, mortal, members of one another, in community, all the while quintessentially VERY singular in our solitude journey in the midst of the great (often equally confused, hapless, hurting, hopeful, helpless), crowd of fellow sojourners, surrounding us.

    Where does our help come from?

    From within, without, above, below and around and beyond us. Sometimes it’s the wordless times of BEING with each other, alone yet not abandoned; with fearfully daring attempts to bridge the gaps between knowing & not knowing, patience & lethargy, communicating without words, exhaustion & persistence. At other times it’s in the quiet enjoyment of those rare and too fleeting moments, hardly flashes of “connections” we sense, (perhaps without ‘feeling’ much of anything), in the midst of what seems like perpetual numbness, a confusing/frightening disconnectedness from the secret place where we used to find encouragement, comfort, Peace, joy to receive and extend or offer to others.

    Thank you for your tender reflections, giving voice to so many of us who plod alongside, wishing, hoping against hope that we had the power to make things better – for our adult children, their families, and ourselves.

    May peace wash over you and each of us, as we seek healing and pursue BEING the best that we can be. Know that you have touched a chord/cord which binds us together as “family”.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thank you, and yes you are so right. No one knows unless they have walked in our shoes. But I always felt my oncology team was the greatest hand I held. They always listened and had an answer. I am thankful they have not had personal experience and I pray they never will. I except they gave me the best of themselves every time I visit. To my husband, kids, and sister, I will be forever grateful for rides to treatment, cleaning my house, preparing a meal (even if I didn’t eat it), and just sitting with me on my worse days. All of you would come at a drop of a hat if I thought I could get out of the house and “do something”. I am so blessed to have the family and medical staff in our little town. All praise be go God, He is good.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. To all the wonderful nurses, oncology and others I have met, you are wonderful, special people who make a difficult journey that much easier and even if you don’t get exactly how we feel, or how a diagnosis of Cancer can be all consuming taking over your live, your smiles and reassuring words go such a long way to help me cope during tests, treatment and all the other endless appointments. I love the way you remember who I am when I come for treatment and I’m not just another arm you have to find a good vein in. To me you are angels 👼

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to reblog this!

      (I write my own posts in Norwegian, so I’m guessing you don’t get much out of it.
      I was diagnosed with TNBC last christmas. I’ve been through surgery, chemo and radiation over the last months. Last check up and mammogram was good, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll stay that way from now on.)

      I wanted my friends and family to see how hard it is to understand what it’s like, even for those who deal with cancer patients all the time, not to mention all of those who don’t have a clue…
      Your post describes my feelings in so many ways.

      I wish you the best. You’ve got this!!

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Thank YOU for understanding.
    I am “cured” now – just need to believe it. You described my journey through treatment perfectly.
    I hope you can go on and be the wonderful nurse you now are. Good luck with everything.

    Liked by 1 person

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