Earlier this month, the president and founder of Center for Advancing Health, a nonpartisan, Washington-based policy institute, launched a blog series on cancer survivorship. Jessie Gruman's entries draw from personal experience - she has been treated for five different cancer diagnoses - and are designed to explore "what it takes to find the right health care and make the most of it as part of our effort to live as well and as long as we can." In her inaugural post, she shares her introduction to the world of survivorship:
...For the longest time, I believed that the Hodgkin’s lymphoma that was diagnosed on my 20th birthday was a one-off, one-shot deal that had been cured by aggressive treatment, never to be heard from again. Two subsequent cancer blips discovered early through routine screening were treated surgically. In between these diagnoses in 1992 and 2001, I was robustly healthy. My two most recent diagnoses – gastric and lung cancers – are almost certainly related to the treatment I received when I was 20.
I can no longer deny that being a cancer survivor is something that one can attend to for the first couple years following treatment and then swerve off into the conviction that life and health can proceed as though cancer had never happened.
The rest of her piece, as well as its two follow-ups, are worth a read.
Previously: Speaking up about being a cancer survivor, The anxious warrior: Life as a cancer survivor, Surviving is just half the battle: More on Stanford’s new survivorship clinic, Cancer’s next stage: A report from Stanford Medicine magazine, A call for rehab services for cancer survivors and A look at how best to care for America’s growing population of cancer survivors