We can easily fix the shoulder, but…

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:

  1. Cancer is no longer a death sentence.
  2. Understanding the statistics you read
  3. Creating a support community of your family and friends
  4. Online resources – medical information and social resources
  5. The importance of your attitude and feelings
  6. Taking care of the caregiver, too
  7. 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.

Published on: August 04, 2008
About the Author
Photo of e-Patient Dave

Healthcare blogger "e-Patient Dave" deBronkart works in high-tech marketing in the Boston area. His interest in healthcare ramped up rapidly in January 2007 when a routine shoulder x ray revealed kidney cancer that had spread throughout both lungs.

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