In early 2010, life threw me a sharp curve ball.
I was inducted into that dreaded "C"-club.

From the moment I had my suspicions, to the first time I walked into the chemo treatment ward, right up until today, I've had questions, and doubts.  My natural curiousity has forced me to ask most of the questions I've had - and I've been able to get many answers. Some of them help, some don't.  Quite frankly, there are some things that can't be answered. That's what this is all about.

On my journey (and believe me, I'm still on it) I looked for a resource like this, but I couldn't find it. There are many, many, great web-sites and organizations that provided a lot of help, but I found there was something missing.  Where is the hope?  Where are the success stories?

I did have great support from friends, family and my medical team, but I always saw them as the healthy ones.  I wanted inspiration from someone who'd been there - someone who felt the same way I did when the Dr. gave me the details.  I needed proof that it can be done.  I needed to hear that I wasn't alone.  That's why I'm doing this.

There is a great divide between how the world sees cancer and how I think it should be seen.(For those who may be interested in my personal journey you can read my blog here.) Cancer, as I have learned, isn't always about being at the end.  It can be about a brave new beginning.  It was- it "is", for me. I hope it happens for you...

Sincerely,Signature

1. Rally the troops

Don't be a soldier and go solo, especially in the begining, during future diagnostic appointments. It's totally understandable to be scared and confused -this is likely an unfamiliar crisis, there is a lot to absorb. For starters, you will be scheduled for numerous appointments. As you attend these it will be helpful to bring along a family member, or good friend. They will not only provide support, but can also help you retain important information. Another suggestion you may want to consider is bringing a "dictaphone" to record all of the appointments with doctors and your medical team. You can then review it later at your own pace in the comfort of your home. Your doctors will more than likely will be listing off numerous things, from treatment protocols, medication and prognosis stats etc -its information overload. Remember the medical team you are now dealing with is full of specialists, they do this every day and as such, at times, it may become routine for them. Thats not suggesting they arent giving you the best care possible, just that they may not be intune into explaining additional details unless you ask for them. Be prepared. Write down any questions you may have for each appointment.

2. Online overboard

This may be one of the most important aspects during your journey. Don't Google yourself to death. The internet offers many great things, but medical advice should not be one of them. There are some reputable sites (some are listed on on helpful links page). Use these to learn more about your disease and perhaps some of the treatments available, but the final decision should be based on discussions with your doctors. Remember anyone can post anything on the internet. Moreover, when it comes to statistics, remember even if its from a credible organization, that stats are often based on old data. Cancer statistics are by definition out of date by the time they’re published.

3.Get a Copy of everything

It's important that you start your own medical history file. It's your right to obtain a copy of all tests, records, results, prescriptions and scans that are performed on you. Make it easy on your medical team by requesting copies during each test or appt. You will find most doctors and their assistants more than willing to provide it. If not insist upon it. This is especially important should you need to seek a second opinion. It will also help immensly should some complication or re-occurence develop in the future. Remember 5, 10, 15 years from now, your doctor may have transffered to another hospital, retired, even passed away and/or your files have gone missing. It's your body-your medical history is in those files.

4.Talk to a professional

Many hospitals and Cancer affliated charities offer counselors and support groups to assist you in your journey. This support can be invaluable, and should really be considered. Many are free and one should not feel ashamed, or embarassed for seeking help. You should instead feel empowered. This is an opportunity to express your thoughts without feeling judged.

5.Boost your body:

Although it's crucial that you talk to your doctor before adjusting your diet or adding natural supplements during treatment, once complete, there are numerous things you can do to boost your body. There have been many studies that prove the cancer fighting benefits of certain foods, including green tea, Tumeric, Cruicerfous vegetables and many more. [See our Wellness Wire section for more information].



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