The Cancer Catch All
“Life interrupted.” It’s a bold phrase for what getting a cancer diagnosis and going through treatment actually becomes--and in the fraction of a second. But it’s hardly hyperbole, as I’ve come to understand more and more since I first starting caring for patients with leukemia. Initially, I was blown away at how often they had to come to clinic, often two or even three times a week. I remember thinking how disrupted their lives had become. My fresh-out-of-school observation, while true, was narrow at best. Soon, my sense of “disrupted” shifted to “interrupted”--because that’s, frankly, what life with cancer is: Life as you knew it interrupted. The onslaught is sudden and unavoidable: There is so much to consider, to take in, to think about, to decide. Although many aspects of the cancer journey are eventually less overwhelming, at first it’s like drinking from a fire hose. Many cancer related topics do get discussed in clinics and with providers but many are not. It was years before I knew that chemotherapy induced hair loss can be painful. And it wasn’t until I suffered from nausea for months on end while pregnant that I fully understood what living with such side effects must really feel like. Here, in The Cancer Catch All, we will talk about it all. Nothing is off limits. I hope that this will serve as a space for the witnessing and embracing of fresh perspectives, of the gathering of practical knowledge and insight, and the feeling of camaraderie on your journey.