One thing all cancer patients do is wait. From the waiting room, on, waiting becomes a huge part of life when you’re living with cancer,
My husband and I had monthly visits to the cancer center for 5 years prior to his diagnosis with stage IV lung cancer. I received infusions for rheumatoid arthritis there. The day we went to the cancer center for his first oncology appointment, the waiting room became a whole new word for us. We saw the other patients who were waiting, in a whole new light. For the first time, we knew their fears. They all had experience in what we were about to go through.
Over the years, the waiting room has also become a place of comradery. We exchange stories. We root for one another. Now, Dan is the patient with the experience, having been there nearly 5 years.
Waiting for your diagnosis
This may have been the most anxiety filled time of Dan’s cancer experience. We knew something was wrong. But, what? Countless tests filled our days for two weeks, before we had a complete picture of what we were facing. And, that was fast. Most people wait a lot longer for their diagnosis. It may have been because his symptoms left nothing up to question. The Doctors knew it was cancer. It was just a matter of finding out which cancer and what stage it was at.
Waiting to tell People
The thing that made waiting for the diagnosis even more difficult was the solitude of it. We were waiting to tell people until we knew exactly what we were dealing with. We didn’t want to worry people for no reason. But, that left us alone, with no one to pray for Dan’s health or our peace of mind. If we had it to do over again, (apart from our young children) we would tell some people. We noticed an immediate difference when people began to pray for us. A tremendous weight was lifted.
Waiting for scan results
As you undergo cancer treatment, you spend a lot of time waiting for scan results. They are confirmation that a treatment is working and often the first indication that it has stopped working. Patients have scans at different intervals, but they are always a time of waiting.
Waiting for the other shoe to drop
Even when things are going really well (sometimes especially, then), nerves can get the best of you. I, especially, have struggled with this. When life is somewhat normal, I start to worry that things will change and Dan will have to go back to a hard treatment…or worse.
Waiting is part of the cancer experience. While it’s difficult, you get better at it over time. Cancer slows you down anyway. You become more introspective. The time spent waiting gives you time to think, to reassess your priorities, and to pray.
I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since my husband, Dan was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, despite their illness.
My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on Amazon.com