Once I finished chemo, I shared my experience with every patient I met and urged them to do the same. After talking to other patients I know that not everyone wants a party. I know that not every patient needs 500 people standing by their side to get them through. Not every patient is Kayla.
I have doctors. Lots of them. I should really say "health care professionals," because not everyone whose is helping me deal with this is an M.D. All of them, however, are what I've decided to call "Team Stan."
Like Walt in Breaking Bad, I have health care insurance from my employer, and like Walt's wife, Skyler, discovers about their insurance, I'm still liable for the deductible, copay and coinsurance portion of the medical fees.
When on cycle two, day two, I told my nurse she was joining my angels here on earth, she told me that one of her previous patients had claimed coming into the infusion room was like going to hell -- now I have a Hell's Angel by my side.
In the first weeks of treatment, I had few side effects apart from fatigue. I thought perhaps I had dodged a bullet and would skate through without much discomfort. It would be clear in the coming weeks just what a tough battle this would be, and the best weight for me was my fighting weight.
Integrative cancer care does not only include medical visits and treatments. In combination with necessary conventional cancer treatments and other integrative therapies addressing the entire body, cancer patients need to use self-care daily.
I realized that my seed of a wish to witness change in people's experience with cancer was blossoming before my eyes. Just within my relatively short lifetime, we have evolved in opportunities and options, enabling people with cancer to have a better quality of life.