The long-timers vs. the newbies

As I mentioned, I am a freqent visitor at the Princess Margaret chemo unit. I wrote a poem the other day about how merry it sounds when more than one IV machine plays their little tunes of alert at the same time. While my husband liked the poem, he, quite rightly, pointed out that someone who is dealing with an acute situation, might not be able to appreciate or find any “merriness” in the chemo unit.

This comment certainly caused me to reflect. My situation began as acute, but has slowly shifted to chronic, giving me, in some ways, a more relaxed perspective on my whole experience and some perspective on that acute time. I think the group of people “living” with cancer rather than simply dying or recovering from cancer is growing and presents a whole different set of issues than someone who is dealing with an immediate life or death situation.

Many people however are in that first terrified/angry/depressed/worried place of having recently received a diagnosis or of dealing with a very immediate situation of  acute treatment. I remember those days well.

I hope for the book to bring together perspectives from many stages of the cancer experience. It might be helpful for someone dealing with an acute situation to hear from people on the other side of the giant mountain they have to climb. For long-timers like me, it is important to put myself back in that early time, so that I can retain my empathy and remember some of the lessons learned from that situation.

There is room in the book for those people who are just plain angry and scared, for those who cope by making fun of the situation and for those who have a more long-term perspectiv, just to name a few examples. There is no one right away to think about your cancer experience and the more perspectives we can present, the more complete the story will be.