On November 24, 2023, I will remember 9 years of being a cancer patient. I am grateful that I am here! But rest assured, there is not a day that goes by that I forget I am a cancer patient.
I often wonder if people with other chronic medical conditions are so acutely aware of their disease and think about it and how it changed their lives. I would think they would, as having a chronic medical or mental health condition changes who you are. You are no longer disease-free or safe from setbacks or reoccurrences. Having a chronic condition is always on your mind.
If I am honest, I have to say I am still coming to terms with being a cancer survivor. I am still on a mission to educate people (patients and caregivers) about the importance of having a voice in their care, asking questions, doing research, and taking good care of themselves. My mission also includes helping all healthcare professionals and stakeholders understand how their work impacts the people they work with at every entry point of the healthcare system. I try my best to bring awareness that the healthcare system is built for the healthcare system and not the people who use it and that we need to work together to change that.
My life changed on November 24, 2014, when an Emergency Room doctor told me, ‘You have a brain tumor’.
Today, nine years later, I am 80% better. I am more aware of my body and look at things more closely when strange things happen. I guess I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I want to be alert to address the next crisis.
Being a cancer patient has taught me to live life every day, follow my dreams and goals, and do what I can to help others navigate the complex system we call healthcare.
Thank you to all who have followed me since my first post on July 22, 2015. I write a post each week because of each of you. I value your insights and comments.
I re-read my first post and smiled as I realized I have stayed true to the goal I set out to accomplish, of which I am proud. This Blog has been cathartic for me as it has allowed me to share my experiences and help others on their journey. I hope you have taken away a few nuggets that have helped you, a family member, or a friend.
I will be off next week as we travel to see our families for Thanksgiving. So, as I close, I want to wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving.
When you and your families sit around your table, say a prayer and remember the people in Israel and Ukraine and all the others who are at risk in hot spots around the world as well as within our own country and your household. Pray for those who are sick, struggle to make ends meet, and carry burdens that impact them daily.
Best to all of you!