There are worse conditions than cancer. I'll leave it up to each of you to fill in the blank with your own nominations, since what "worse" means is undoubtedly idiosyncratic. Recently, most diagnoses of cancer do not carry automatic death sentences, and most people with cancer don't find themselves stigmatized or ostracized because of their diagnosis.
In other words, things may be better for many people newly diagnosed with cancer here, in the U.S., in the early 21st century, than they were 100 years ago. But there again, I refrain from absolutes, because we can all appreciate that for too many people still, a cancer diagnosis might as well be a terminal one--if lack of medical insurance means no way to get care, of if other circumstances interfere with getting culturally sensitive and appropriate care. We are far from living in a society that supports all of us equally.
Even if all the stars are aligned, however, and you are in a relatively fortunate place--with people who care close to you, health providers who can help you, and money to keep you going--a diagnosis of cancer can be a kick in the solar plexus. Breathtaking, that is, and not in a good way.
Over the past few years, we've published a few diaries as part of the Monday Night Cancer Club series that are aimed to offer advice and support to people who are at the very start of learning how to deal with cancer. Here are a few:
There are many more--some of them very personal, others more analytical. If you're new here (or even if you're not), please do feel free to take a look at the list, here.You may find one that you've missed--or you may realize that there's a topic missing that you, yourself, would love to address. (That's my subtle way this week of inviting more guest diarists.)
But the real strength of every MNCC diary comes from the comment threads, in which so many of us have come forward to offer sustenance and encouragement to each other.
Some MNCC regulars have been with us all along, and still chime in nearly every week. Others have recovered well, and they have little interest now in frequenting the series. Yet others, sadly, have died. And, of course, there are still new arrivals, since despite advances in some directions, there have been setbacks in others.
So, if you are new, please feel free to ask questions, about anything you like. Every week is also an Open Thread. If you're a long-timer, feel free to weigh in. This applies to people with cancer and to caregivers alike, let me remind you. But all are quite welcome. We're a hospitable group.
Monday Night Cancer Club is a Daily Kos group focused on dealing with cancer, primarily for cancer survivors and caregivers, though clinicians, researchers, and others with a special interest are also welcome. Volunteer diarists post Monday evenings between 7:30-8:30 PM ET on topics related to living with cancer, which is very broadly defined to include physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive aspects. Mindful of the controversies endemic to cancer prevention and treatment, we ask that both diarists and commenters keep an open mind regarding strategies for surviving cancer, whether based in traditional, Eastern, Western, allopathic or other medical practices. This is a club no one wants to join, in truth, and compassion will help us make it through the challenge together.