As we embark on our cancer journey, writing can be a way to help us understand, work out issues, and help us accept and come to terms with our fate. The wide variety of blogs and discussion fora, whether religious or secular in outlook, optimistic or pessimistic in tone, medical or emotional in emphasis, all reflect the richness of our individual lives, circumstances and perspectives. My cancer journey was no different. ...

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The duality that cancer patients face

We are often pulled in different, opposing directions, and take time to find the balance between acceptance and anger, surrender and control, individual and group, being and thinking, living and dying. How we find balance and what that balance is influences our attitude.
Throughout my journey, I was struck by a number of dichotomies, or dualities, as I reflected on my reactions ...

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Most of us have find it challenging to make sense of the wave of information when we enter our cancer journey. This is foreign territory, with its own language, culture and routines. It takes time to absorb and understand. We are not oncologists or hematologists. However, we can learn to improve our discussion with our medical team. Build your knowledge. By the time you start your treatment, you will likely have searched the ...

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Just as preparing for a lengthy hospital stay requires planning, so does returning to home after the hospital. While your condition and strength will shape the best approach for you, my experience following my stem cell transplants may be helpful should you find yourself in this situation. Before you leave get the information you need.  Most hospitals are pretty good in providing written information sheets on follow-up care, related instructions, and ...

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Over the past few years, I have had more than my share of navigating my way through the emotional and practical aspects of my treatment for mantle cell lymphoma. While at the back of my mind the broader questions – why me?, how long will I live? – remain, once I got over the initial anger and depression after the initial diagnosis (and after my relapse), I found these practical ...

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One of the hardest things after a cancer diagnosis is telling others: family, friends and colleagues. I preferred to a more open approach for a number of reasons. Keeping everything inside was harder, talking and writing was a form of release. People close to you need to know to help them support you. Letting people know avoids awkward questions, providing an invitation for support. Previous experience with others who did not share ...

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Planning a lengthy hospital stay is like planning any extended vacation or business trip, with the difference that transitioning to hospital life means transitioning to no longer being in control, where choice is limited, and where one is dependent on others. Given my lengthy hospital stays as part of my stem cell transplants - some planned, some as a result of complications - the following may be helpful should you find ...

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When I got my phone call with the diagnosis of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), my instinct, like so many of us, was to Google. Today, 3 years later, I have learned about what to look for, what to avoid, and how to manage my natural wish to know as much as possible. The following are suggestions to help others faced with a cancer diagnosis. Google wisely. Google (and Wikipedia) are a reflex. ...

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