What you don't know about a cancer survivor:
1) scars hurt - we have scars where our ports used to be and where we had surgeries. These are sore and cause a variety of problems. My surgery was so extreme due to the nature of the huge 16 cm tumor that had wrapped around the brachial plexus nerve, that when removed it caused permanent damage to my body. My left shoulder blade is constantly pulled out of whack.
2) we often head to an infusion center to have our ports flushed. A port is under the skin and needs to be accesses with a long needle and flushed with saline water so it does not get plugged. If it is plugged, the nurse needs to call your doctor and get a prescription for some unclogging medication to flush in to your body. Going tot an infusion center is stressful as it reminds us we are cancer patients.
3) Even if we do not lose our hair or it grows back, we can be sick. Cancer patients do not always look sick. Some of the new drugs do not cause hair loss... and even on steroids we can gain weight. So, well many of us look horribly skinny during extreme treatments , such as mine which was bio-chemotherapy.... many of us have hair while fighting.
4) Please do not tell us to "not worry" and "just think good thoughts" as we are already very worried and thinking good thoughts. Of course I worry about dying and leaving my family! Making light of that is simply, sometimes, irritating. Melanoma, for example has a 87-90% chance of reoccurence for stage IV patients. So, being worried is a part of the survival.
5) We are not contagious.... & we need HUGS.
6) Please know that chemo brain is REAL, and we may have a hard time remembering things.... and we may cry randomly, as there is PTS from fighting cancer.
Fighting for your life from any stage of any cancer is very challenging to the human spirit. Our lives have changed and we are forever different.
Peace &Love to all those in the trenches of their fight, right now. May you feel peace and acceptance for the outcome of your fight. There were many days that I realized the outcome to my fight may have been death and I remember the times I almost died.. peace & love & comfort to those who have lost their loved ones..... because CANCER really does SUCK.
A kiss from Allison, I was finally back home after being gone for 6 months to fight cancer.
Hubby & I a month after my surgery. June 2011