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Cancer Survivorship: "I Call Me Lucky"

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 10, 2013 | Conversation Continues

"I have been treated for five different cancer diagnoses. Some would call me a survivor. I call me lucky," CFAH President Jessie Gruman observes in her lead post in the series, What I Wish I'd Known Earlier About Cancer Survivorship.

I Wish I'd Known Earlier...Each New Diagnosis Has Unique Demands

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 28, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

Ever heard the saying "You never step into the same river twice"? It has taken me a long time to apply its meaning to my experiences with five different forms of cancer as well as a variety of serious late effects of my treatments...

I Wish I'd Known Earlier...Kids with Cancer Need Emotional Support Too

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 23, 2013 | Sabrina Smith

The word "survivor" is a huge hot button for my older son, Nate, who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) at the age of not-quite-three-years-old. The biggest regret I have from his illness is that we were so focused on saving his life and getting him physically healthy that we didn't think to bring therapy into the process for him in a full way...

I Wish I’d Known Earlier...Survivorship Care Is a Mutual Enterprise

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 21, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

I wish I'd known earlier that survivorship care is neither a do-it-yourself project nor is it something that I can simply hand off to experts…As former cancer patients, we can't just walk in to our appointments with our oncologist, survivorship specialist or primary care doctor every six months or year and have survivorship care handled for us…

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...If Your Oncology Team Doesn’t Mention the Topic of Fertility, Then You Should Bring It Up Yourself

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 20, 2013 | Marie Ennis OConnor

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34. When I brought up the topic of fertility with my oncologist, I was presented with a stark choice between life-saving treatment or a chance at becoming a mother.

Advocacy: The Road We Decide to Walk on Today

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 16, 2013 | Debra Madden

In 1986 I developed a cough that didn’t go away for over a year. A chest x-ray confirmed stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the years since, I developed what is now termed as numerous “late effects”. Along the way I learned the importance of advocating for myself and others.

I Wish I’d Known Earlier...I Still Need a Primary Care Provider Since Most Headaches Aren’t Brain Tumors

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 14, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

My experience has taught me that once active treatment is over, regardless of my tendency to regard every lingering ache or pain as a recurrence, if I’m getting my survivorship care from my treating oncologist or other survivorship specialist, I have to find myself a primary care clinician who knows my health history. Why?

I Wish I'd Known Earlier...Palliative Care Is Not a Mandate Not to Treat

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 13, 2013 | Stephanie Sugars

When I signed up for palliative care in 2011, I thought I’d made my last medical decisions. In the future I’d take the least-invasive, lowest-cost approach to medical care and forego dramatic, expensive treatments. If only life with advanced cancer were so simple!

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...To Cast a Cool Eye on Prognostic and Risk Statistics

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 7, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

For many of us, receiving a cancer diagnosis often includes hearing some statistics about the average or mean survival of people with this stage of this type of cancer. The end of active treatment may arrive accompanied by additional statistics. It is difficult, even for those schooled in the meaning of such numbers, to figure out what they mean for an individual.

Why I Don't Like the Phrase 'Cancer Survivor'

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 1, 2013 | Susan Fitzpatrick

Why is it that survivors of other devastating personal traumas – fires, floods, tornadoes – rarely use celebratory hero language? Mostly, they speak of themselves as lucky…

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...That For Many of Us, Symptoms and Late Effects Accumulate Rather Than Fade Over Time

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 31, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

The side effects of cancer treatment sometimes fade but can become permanent glitches — disturbing symptoms whose impact we try to mitigate and whose presence we attempt to accommodate.

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...Not Every Oncologist Can or Should Deliver Survivorship Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 24, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

We are not the only ones who must be convinced that we have unique health concerns following the active treatment of our cancer. Clinicians must also believe that special care for us is important, and they have to learn how to provide that care.

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...How Fear Can Get in the Way of Cancer Survivorship Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 17, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

A strong emotional response to cancer treatment is common, but I didn’t need to suffer so much or so long from my fears. The lingering intensity of those responses can affect whether and how we attend to the tasks of survivorship.

What I Wish I’d Known Earlier about Cancer Survivorship

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 10, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

I have been treated for five different cancer diagnoses. Some would call me a cancer survivor. I call me lucky...