The words “You have cancer” have just landed in your head and there’s an instant hum or buzz that’s taken over. You’re watching your doctor’s lips keep moving, but not a word is landing in the lobe where thinking and processing was so easy just a few minutes ago. Your brain has shut off.
The switch has been flipped, at least for a while.
When you come back around to the new reality that is now your life, my guess is your care giver who heard those same words has suggested it’s time to take a walk through the internet and find out what all those words, your doctor used, really means.
Tread lightly is all I can tell you. There should be a cancer glossary that comes with every type of cancer, so when you dive into the internet in search of answers, there’s a stock of words with meanings attached, to make it a little more understandable.
Blood draw and red and white count, chemotherapy, radiation, those are all pretty commonly known these days, but if you’re headed for a clinical trial and your research nurse is talking about phases, or placebo’s or blind studies, you really need that glossary.
Cancer is a complicated disease. The words that go with it can make it a real challenge.
So before you start to read up on treatments, and descriptions of what’s going on in your body, stop and ask your medical team to explain the words they’ll be using first. When you grow your vocabulary in cancer world, you’re way ahead of the game.