A Cancer Memoir

Photo Credit: ©S.L. Levy, 2013
I was diagnosed with Stage III colorectal cancer on December 18th, 2012, and I am now on the road to recovery and wellness. Here is a blog within a blog, a mini-blog of 36 postings of my journey navigating through the heath-care system here in Toronto, Canada; it contains three sections: Phase 1 is “Treatment;”Phase 2 is post-treatment “Recovery & Wellness;” and Phase 3 is “A Look Back” to the time I spent six days in hospital before entering Phase 1.
It is as much an exercise in memory, which has become less reliable, as it is in expressions of thought and emotion. My hope is to help others who are facing similar circumstances, helping to alleviate the fear of the unknown, if only for a while and for a bit. The thing with cancer is that you are not cured; you are only given a reprieve from decay and death. The medical community uses the term “no evidence of disease,“ or NED. It is not always a happy story, a happy ending. As an example, I live with the post-treatment side-effects of chemotherapy, a form of treatment that will likely in the future be viewed as barbaric. There is also the emotional trauma, made worse by having to put on brave faces, rarely discussing how you feel (even today), which is often lousy. This is for those people, who are tired of putting on brave faces. (You can contact me at pjgreenbaum@gmail.com)



Phase 1: Treatment

Week 1: My thoughts and reactions on the initial news that I have cancer

Week 2: Pre-chemo information session

Week 3: Installing the access port (“Port-A-Cath)

Week 4: First chemotherapy treatment

Week 5: Let’s talk about money

Week 6: Change in appetites

Week 7: Spring break and keeping the kids busy

Week 8: The team at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre

Week 9: My two young boys at home.

Week 10: The second CT scan results.

Week 11: Is cancer contagious?: The loss of friends.

Week 12: Invisibility and Kafka‘s Metamorphosis

Week 13: Gilda’s Club, a wonderful support group to the rescue

Week !4: A day at chemotherapy

Week 15: It’s the way I feel: no apologies

Week !6: Accepting the poison

Week !7: Where’s the taste?

Week 18: Government financial aid

Week 19: Guest post by Muriel Sommers; 5-year breast cancer survivor

Week 20: On autonomy

Week 21: Latest cancer research

Week 22: On healthy eating; a change in habits

Week 23: Some alternative and complementary therapies

Week 24; Waiting for Godot

Week 25: The end of anger

Week 26: How do you feel?

Week 27: Body, heal thyself

Phase 2: Recovery & Wellness

Month 1: Take A Pill

Month 2: No Posting

Month 3Adapting To Unexpected Changes

Month 4: Medical Research Focuses On Better Therapies

Month 5: The Ways Of Contentment

Month 6: Kafka's Rules

Month 7:  Diet Factors 

Phase 3: A Look Back

Part 1: A Night At The Operating Theatre 

Part 2: Nurse, Can I Have Some Ice?

Part 3: Please Leave, Doctor: I'm Feeling Nauseous




Updated May 8th, 2016
Toronto, Ontario
Canada