Why Information is One of the Best Medicines for Cancer

From Mia Bonhomme in Belgium – Mia’s website: MiaCLLBelgium flag

It all starts with the statement “ You have cancer”. The next second you have the impression your head is too small because thoughts are fighting to take their place in the front row. You are often not able to see, hear or understand the rest of what your physician is saying.

At home, you feel as if someone hit you with a sledgehammer, paralysed, not knowing what to do or how to react. In the back of your mind you still hope they’ve made a mistake, switched results.

The moment you realise that none of this is true and the diagnosis is for real, you start worrying about your dear ones. What will happen if you’re not around anymore to help them? You probably are even thinking of arranging your funeral.

You think of everyone except yourself and all this thinking and worrying is consuming so much energy that it leaves you with an empty battery.

When you reach your next appointment you feel drained of energy and happy that your doctor is taking care of your illness and upcoming treatment. You feel lucky you can leave it up to him because at that time there is no empty spot in your brain left to worry about treatment.

It is a fact that doctors know best but they’re also human, not almigthy. They try to take care of hundreds of patients and don’t have the time left to know everything there is to know about your disease. That’s why we patients have to inform ourselves, and seek answers to our questions, in order to understand what our doctor is telling us.

I had the luck to have the best specialist ever. He told me that in my case he had four different kinds of treatments available. I got the explanation of where each treatment would take me.

So he showed me four different kind of ways to fight my cancer and it was up to me to make the choice. The only thing I asked was: which treatment he would choose if he was in the same situation as me.

In our distress to cope with cancer we patients sometimes forget that there is a limit in what physicians can do.

We have to stand up for ourselves. No one is in a better possition to fight for your life than you yourself! Your physician can provide you the ammunition to deal with cancer, however you have to make sure that you understand the options.

That’s why we have to inform ourselves and become empowered. In this way, we can take control of our health.

We are responsible for our own life, not our doctor, nurse, caregiver or family… No, it’s our responsibility, our decision. We can decide to leave it up to our doctor and I’m sure he will do the best he can, or we can decide to become an active participant, get empowered and help as much as possible on our road to survival.

I’m convinced that if we lose that battle in the end, we can make peace with it because we did everything possible to survive. If you have done everything that’s in your power and it doesn’t work out, you don’t have to blame yourself or anyone else. It’s just life as it is written for you.