The Big C Hop


Hey, gang! Today I'm taking part in the 'Big C Bloghop' being instigated by our blog friend Michael Di Gesu in honor of another blog friend, Melissa Bradley. 

Melissa is currently undergoing cancer treatment, and the bloghop posts will be collected for an anthology that will be sold to help with healthcare costs for M. As well as provide donations for an organization (Gilda's Club Chicago) dedicated to helping women fight endometrial, cervical, and ovarian cancers.

Melissa has been a great talent and feisty spirit in our blogging and writing community for a long time and she needs our help. There has been a GoFundMe page established by her friends, and I know she greatly appreciates your donations and sharing.

Get well, M! We are in your corner.

~EJ

Please visit the others in the hop and show your support for, Melissa.

1.Michael @ In Time ...2.Denise Covey
3.Elizabeth Seckman, Author4.Julie Kemp Pick
5.Julie @ Empty Nest Insider6.tammy theriault
7.Tyrean's Writing Spot8.Nicki Elson
9.Jemi Fraser10.Melissa's Imaginarium
11.The Girdle of Melian12.Livia Peterson | Leave it to Livia
13.Scattergun Scribblings14.Life by Chocolate
15.Write with Fey16.Ella's Edge
17.WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS18.Positive Letters and Stories
19.Far Away Eyes20.Confessions of a Watery Tart
21.E.J. Wesley, Author22.The Cancer Assassin: Ken Wins!!!
23.Donna Hole24.Aloha! Mark Koopmans says hi from HI
25.Michelle @Writer-In-Transit26.Stephen Tremp
27.PK HREZO28.Elizabeth Hein-Scribbling In The Storage Room
29.The Murphey Saga30.Robyn Campbell
31.Theresa Milstein @ Theresa's Tales32.Elizabeth Hein-Scribbling In The Storage Room
33.Sweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell

(Note about my entry: Melissa is one of the funniest people I've met, so I've added a touch of humor and sarcasm to my essay just for her. :) I give full rights to this work to Melissa and allow her to use it however she sees fit.)

5 Things I learned About Cancer Living With An Oncologist

I’ve never had cancer, but I have a pretty intimate relationship with it. My wife is an oncologist, so I hear about the struggles and triumphs every day. I see how determined she is, even after logging seventy to eighty hours away from home on an average week, to stay persistent and encouraging in the face of such brutal diseases and treatments. And she tells me that most of her dedication comes directly from the courage she sees in her patients.


Ultimately, she gets to go home. Lots of people aren’t so fortunate. So, other than being grateful for whatever health I’m given every second of every day, what other things have I picked up living with an oncologist?

1. Cancer hates weekends and holidays … and pretty much every other special moment in life. It’s like a demonic Santa Claus. It knows when you’re sleeping. It knows when you’re awake. It knows when you haven’t eaten or seen your family in three days, and it doesn’t give a damn. People have it 24/7, and those people need to be taken care of 24/7. It’s a vicious cycle for everyone involved.

2. Cancer sucks. Cancer treatment can suck more—at least in the short term. What do you do to a disease that’s trying to kill you? Why poison it—and you—naturally! Seriously, it’s like Agatha Christie invented modern oncology. There are also surgeries, needle sticks, ports, and pretty much everything else evil in the world. When you hear about people ‘fighting cancer’, that’s exactly what it is in most instances. A knock-down-drag-out brawl to reclaim their health. When a doctor tells you a procedure or treatment ‘isn’t fun’ that’s code for “this will probably be worse than being mauled by a lion".

3. The psychological toll of cancer is often harsher than the physical toll. “You have a life-threatening disease. Have a great weekend!” That’s not how a typical visit with an oncologist goes down. A huge portion of cancer treatment is counseling the patient and their families. It’s preparing them and getting them the help they need for the inevitable depression. It’s educating them on treatment options (remember, some of which really suck, see #2) and side effects. It’s helping folks stare down their mortality—even for the good kinds of cancer. (See - #4) You can’t be diagnosed with the Big C and not have your insides turned out.

4. There are good kinds of cancer. Okay, poor phrasing. No cancer is good. But there are WAY worse kinds to have. Doctors get really excited when a patient has one of the good ones. It truly makes their month (sometimes year) when they get to tell a patient the goal of treatment is cure, because that’s definitely not always the case. Way too often they’re dealing in weeks and months, not years or forever, when it comes to prognosis. So they live for those appointments when they get to talk about curing a disease, not just treating it. 

5. Speaking of forever, when you live with an oncologist you quickly realize almost nothing is. Absolutes make all doctors crazy, but especially cancer doctors. They see lives yanked out from under folks like shabby rugs on a daily basis and it’s their jobs to help them get back on their feet if they can. They understand that diseases are random and unilaterally unbiased. Good people, bad people, old people, young people, smart people, funny people, silly people, loved people—anyone can get cancer. This might seem like a depressing or alarming amount of knowledge to have (and it can be a really poor party topic at times), but it’s mostly empowering. You want a VIP pass to enjoy life? Get real about how precious and beautiful it is, and how so many people are stripped of the ability to live it to its fullest.

E.J. Wesley

29 comments:

  1. I bet you know a lot more about it than you ever wanted to know. Gotta be amazing to live with a healer, though, eh? Great perspective here, EJ.

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    1. WAY more, Hart! LOL She's a special lady and really loves her job. (The taking care of patients parts anyway. :)

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  2. I admire that your wife is able to handle that every single day. You can both appreciate good health so much more because of what she sees. And I'm sure she does what she can to make the experience less sucky for others.

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    1. Definitely gives you some perspective, Alex. All she thinks about is improving their quality of life, weighing discomfort Vs benefit, etc.

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  3. Sounds like your wife is the type of doctor we all want! All of your points are so spot on!

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  4. All very true...Having an oncologist for a wife gives you all you need if you ever want to write about a character diagnosed with cancer. And your wife sounds like an amazing doctor. I couldn't imagine doing what she does. I am applauding her for her dedication and strength.

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    1. Thanks, Chrys! I don't know if I could ever tackle a story that centered on cancer. But has definitely played some role in most of my stories. :)

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  5. I worked on a Gyn unit for a while, back in the early 90s. We occasionally got oncology overflow from our sister unit. I actually gave chemo a few times. Anyhow, I saw what the disease and the treatments did to people. It wasn't pretty.

    Great post, EJ. Your wife is a special person to do what she does.

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    1. You all (healthcare providers) have such great perspective on life and living, M. I'm grateful to be let in on some of that world--without having to do the gross stuff and hard work of it all. :)

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  6. I can only imagine the strain of the work on your wife.

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    1. Some days are tough, no lie. But she loves what she does for sure.

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  7. Thanks for sharing your knowledge from living with your wife. My aunt used to counsel patients with cancer and their families. I'm sure it was a heart-breaking job sometimes.

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    1. My background is mental health and counseling, so it's always the first thing I think about. I agree totally, I think it would be a brutal job. But I'm so grateful there are people who can do it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Hey, E.J.

    Thanks for sharing yours and your wife's views on this ...ah... HORRIFIC subject. Thank God for people like your wife that have A BIG HEART and strong stomach... Give her a hug from me...

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    1. I'll give her a couple, Michael! :) Thanks for helping Melissa put all of this together. You're a rockstar in our community and, more importantly, in our hearts.

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  9. Wow!! I love my oncologist and would not be handling this like I am without her positive energy. Your wife is part of an amazing group of people. Thank you so much for participating and getting the word out. Hugs my fellow Bears fan. :)

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    1. Hope the day was a successful one for you, M. I also hope you know how many of us would gladly keep you company (and talk football, of course) while you wait in one medical office or other if we could. We've got your back. :)

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  10. Hi E J. Your wife loves her day job, which is wonderful. She must provide succor to so many. No doubt she's learned how to handle the pressure. Thank God there are people like her. I'm glad Melissa loves her oncologist.
    Thanks for this powerful essay.

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  11. I did not know your wife was an oncologist. This is the from the other side, EJ. She has such a stressful job. Great writing here. And please, thank your wife for me. She's one of the great ones.

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  12. You really get to view the Big-C from a unique perspective, E.J.
    Oncology is more than a career/profession...it's a vocation, a special calling...and your wife sounds like the perfect person for this particular calling. It's a double blessing - for your wife as well as the patients she cares for.
    Great post!

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  13. I believe it takes a special someone to do what your wife does. I hope she receives many blessings.

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  14. Hi EJ .. a special lady, who is obviously passionate about what she does ... it's the team work - the patient, the specialist, and all the nurses, staff, dedicated personnel who hold things together ...

    It's amazing how much can be done for so many .. and I'm sure the positive attitude, or just attitude against the tumour .. that can send it running ... I've read some really heart-warming stories for Melissa's blog hop ... and yours adds another dimension ...

    We had a lovely lady doctor (GP) at the very end for my mother .. and certainly she made a huge difference for me ... cheers Hilary

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  15. Hi EJ,

    Thanks so much for sharing this post with us. I hadn't thought about how hard cancer is for the doctors and their families. Thanks too for your visit and comment.

    Hugs,
    Kathy M.

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  16. I really appreciate your final message, EJ, along with your perspective. True, there are "good" kinds of cancer. It's twisted but that makes sense. If given the Big C diagnosis, we want it to be in the early stages, highly treatable, and etc.

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  17. Good message, EJ! Even the possible threat of cancer scares the c____ out of me, and I've had that . . . "this may be C" twice in my life. Both times it turned out to be something else and I felt like I had a new lease on a life and a big reason to slow waay down and enjoy each moment. Friends of mine and family members have struggled with the big "C" and it sucks the big one . . . especially since the treatment is like being mauled by a lion and then set onto a spin-wheel ride.

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  18. It was a sobering message to hear about things from a doctor's POV. They see the worst things that can happen to people on a daily basis and it really must make you appreciate how precious life is. Your wife does an amazing job.

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  19. That was perfect, EJ. I'm sure Melissa loved it. I can only imagine your wife's stories. Takes a special kind of person to do that.
    Thanks so much for linking ,my project on your sidebar!! :)

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  20. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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