For my Mother and Everyone Diagnosed With Cancer

There are no real monsters… except for cancer

Obviously, cancer is not a monster, no matter how I feel about it personally.  It’s much more complicated and personal than that.  The right information has helped demystify cancer for me.

While cancer wears a frightening persona, beneath the fearful mask lies complexities that have taken many decades to unravel and comprehend.  Furthermore, we are still learning and treatments are still evolving every day.

In my life, cancer has affected both family and friends.  Some of them survived this disease and others did not.  I know I am not alone when I make these statements.

Cancer has become very personal to me with the passage of time.  In recent years I have found a growing desire to learn more about this devastating disease.


The emotional roller coaster of uncertainty after cancer is diagnosed can be soul crushing, for both patient and family.

In my experience, I remember feeling completely frustrated when I realized that I had such a limited preconception about this disease.  I was both angry and anxious that I did not understand cancer the way I wanted and needed to.  As the days moved forward, I earnestly tried to find the answers I sought as well as any information that could give me hope.

Personal Experience

Cancer Cell Among Healthy Cells

I know from personal experience that when someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, there is no escaping or hiding from the days ahead.  If someone you love is diagnosed, or perhaps you are diagnosed with cancer, suddenly that terrible disease you’ve only heard about becomes frighteningly personal, and it hits you like a speeding train.

One example from my life is my mother’s battle with cancer.  She faced and endured challenges and obstacles, with both difficulties and victories along the way.  The diagnosis of cancer for my mother, was ultimately terminal.   She made it through chemotherapy, and the cancer was gone.  However, several years later, cancer returned.  Fortunately, there were many kind and caring people who were there for her, in so many profoundly moving ways during her fight and struggle with this very insidious disease.

I remember desiring so much to be able to help in a situation where I was mostly powerless, except to just be there.  In this situation I made a painful discovery.  I could not provide a cure; I could not wish it away or pray it away.  Near the end,  the only thing I could do was hold her hand.  But while holding hands as her life faded, I learned a very difficult lesson.  Sometimes, just being there is the only thing, and yet the most meaningful thing you can do.


What is cancer?  What are the best treatment options available today?  Realistically, where do we currently stand in our ability to comprehend and treat this disease?  How do I show friendship to someone with cancer and how can I best support them in their situation?  How do we maintain hope and cope with a potentially life threatening diagnosis?

What is Cancer?

Video below from Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Talking With Someone who has Cancer

Video below from Cancer.Net

Maura Tierney – Comments About Her Cancer

Video below from PBS

When the Doctor Says Cancer

Cancer is a very personal struggle… but you do not have to face it alone.

Video below from CancerCare

What to Expect With Chemotherapy

Link to a blog with information about chemotherapy here.

Cancer Fatigue: Why it occurs and how to cope

The following link about cancer fatigue is from the Mayo Clinic website:
link here.

A Biography of Cancer

When I found The Emperor of All Maladies, I felt as if this book was written just for me.  Naturally, that is not the case.  However, I found a very readable and enlightening history and examination of cancer such that I had never encountered before.  I personally recommend The Emperor of All Maladies to anyone who has questions about the history of cancer.  I am very grateful to Siddhartha Mukherjee for writing this very profound book.  In addition, there is an amazing Ken Burns documentary based on this Pulitzer Prize winning book which I will reference below.

Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
A Ken Burns Documentary Film

Video below is from Ken Burns

Cancer: The Emperor Of All Maladies

Video Below from PBS


As of this writing, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies – A Ken Burns Documentary Film, is currently available for streaming on Amazon prime video.

Links below for Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
A Ken Burns Documentary Film

  1. Wikipedia
  3. Amazon
you are not alone
living with and coping with disease