I have personally, invested a lot of time into this blog, because I believe that there is a need for an independent platform, like this. I am aware that there are a lot of people in the cancer community who are feeling isolated and don't know where to turn. It seems that as more people find us and spread the word, we are beginning to make a difference, and I thank you all for that!
This weeks post came about from some comments that were left on a previous post regarding survivorship. I mentioned that I would like to have known about all the possible side effects of my treatment, to help me plan. The person who left the comments felt that, there was no need to know about something that may not affect you anyway, as we don't all get all of the possible side effects. Which I thought was an interesting way of looking at things, and was very different to my own!
On reflection, I have come to have sympathy with that point of view, but only after a lot of thought. This really is the joy of sharing! We don't all agree, but there is always something we can learn from others. I started thinking back to my first treatment permission form that I had to sign. It was full of things that may have happened to me, including dying during treatment. However, whatever the issues were I had no choice, or I would have died anyway!
A lot of those things did not really affect me too much ironically. It was more about the things that I wasn't warned of! Thinking back, no one, even the doctors, knew what to expect. How my body was going to react, to the treatment, or how my mind was going to react to the after effects. Every case is unique.
We all process information differently, too. Some soak it up like a sponge, and others want to know as little as possible. I now understand the point, that we can have an information overload, and we may well start worrying about something that will not affect us anyway. So I conclude that like most things connected with cancer, there is not one single answer.
The response will be different in every case.
In my own instance, I was informed about the physical battering that my body would take, and I was ready for that. Although, I can say that things were even worse than the picture I had painted in my mind. However, what really surprised me was the social and psychological impact that this has had on me. If it had been, mentioned at the time of treatment, that my personality may totally change, I would not have thought it was possible, and I'm sure I would have laughed!
The possible psychological effects were never mentioned, although I am yet to meet someone who remains unscarred after a cancer diagnosis. But it seems we have all been affected differently. Discussing these issues at the start of treatment would create more questions than answers, certainly! Is it a deliberate policy to avoid them? Maybe it is better that we don't know.
An alternative train of thought may be that if you knew all the possible side effects of your treatment, you may have made a different choice. Possibly a different regime, or maybe none at all. You may even ask how can you make your best decision, if you don't have all the facts?
In summary, it was better not to know in advance, about some of the things that have happened to me. Maybe it was done deliberately for my benefit. I think I was told as much as I could handle, and I think that varies, depending on your own circumstances.
Do you think you were given all the necessary facts on diagnosis? Would you have liked to know more? Were you given too much information? Would you have changed your decisions, with the benefit of hindsight?