The duality that cancer patients face

My dualities piece on KevinMD.

The duality that cancer patients face.


3 thoughts on “The duality that cancer patients face

  1. Excellent article. This really resonated with me: “I found myself more inclined to surrender to the fact that I was no longer in control.”

    I need to think about this but it seems to me that the more people urged me to “fight and win”, the more I tried to concentrate on what I could do and accepting what simply was not in my power to change. Deep Survival (a book I read long before I fell ill) has some very eloquent and useful thoughts about this – survival (and this is never a guarantee) has a lot to do with surrender. You can do everything right and still not win/live. That’s a tough lesson but I think it’s a true one.

  2. Andrew –

    I’ve read my share of cancer essays – and also participate on cancer forums as well as personal counseling to other head and neck survivors. I’m always trying to put the experience into words – mostly for cancer patients and survivors since it’s very difficult to explain the cancer experience to people who haven’t lived it.

    I’ve read your duality article several times – and you’ve managed to provide some excellent insight and phrasing for the emotional experience that cancer creates. The image of surrender/control was most appropriate – I agree that you should always look after your own “file” (love that phrase too) and the cancer patient needs to have that feeling of control. No one wants to feel helpless in the face of this type of diagnosis. Yet you need to surrender yourself to your healthcare providers and even your caregivers. Very difficult especially for men – we’re not well trained to be that vulnerable!

    Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts and your experience. I’ve found even for myself, the act of thinking out loud has helped tremendously in understanding the impact that cancer has.

    – Jeff

    • Thanks Jeff, for your kind words and feedback. Perhaps as a man, and former executive, finding where I could exercise control was particularly important, as it then allowed me to surrender when and where I had to. Andrew

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