After a simple shoulder x-ray on January 2, 2007, I learned out of nowhere that something else had shown up in my lung. Ten days later we knew what it was: Stage IV kidney cancer that had spread throughout both lungs.
Suffice it to say that my view of life changed very rapidly. I googled my butt off, but the best information didn’t come from top-ranked medical sites – it came from a community of my peers: people with the same cancer as me, on www.ACOR.org.
In this series I’ll briefly cover the seven topics I wish someone had told me at the outset:
- Cancer is no longer a death sentence.
- Understanding the statistics you read
- Creating a support community of your family and friends
- Online resources – medical information and social resources
- The importance of your attitude and feelings
- Taking care of the caregiver, too
- Advocating for your own care
Now that it’s mostly all over (I’m well again), #7 seems like the top-level lesson. But when I got the news, #1 and #2 were what I needed to hear first. That’s what I’ll write about next.