Good piece on the cancer journey and the metaphor of Cancerland as a foreign country, with smiling people, horrible food, and an obtuse language. Some good advice on working with your medical team. Quote:
In Cancerland, as on any foreign voyage, the traveler will fair best that has knowledge and control. This does not mean becoming a medical expert, but rather teaching the experts that you are the master of your fate and they need to educate and advise you, not direct or demand. If you understand the rules and insist on guiding your own decisions, you will tolerate care and better cope. While it may help to learn some of the language, this is one country where you should demand translation. You should always travel with others to help you, hire guides you trust and make careful decisions as you study the landscape. In CancerLand, there are many paths from which to choose and one must examine each. Remember Cancerland is a foreign place not only for travelers but even for those who work there, so take the time to study, cope and consider.
These simple ideas cannot change the reality; Cancer patients take a journey and at least in part, he or she is never coming back. Each patient and family needs to understand this transition, even if it cannot be seen, and accept that learning about this new mental and physical place will take time. The magnitude of the transition depends on much, including the severity of the disease, the type of treatment, the prognosis, spiritual guidance, bonds to family, community ties and personal support. However, for anyone to believe that Cancerland wears off like a lousy seasick cruise is to ignore the depth and complexity of the journey.