Dr. Wendy Harpham is a doctor of internal medicine, cancer survivor, and award-winning and best-selling author of books about cancer: Healthy Survivorship, recovery and late effects, and raising children when a parent has cancer. She is also a public speaker, patient advocate, and mother of three.
In a NYTimes essay titled The Waiting, David Rakoff writes about the waiting patients are forced to endure.
A few excerpts:
[A]fter close to three years into my current illness...I try not to invest too much importance in the casual words of others, mostly to let them off the hook....
...[C]aregivers seem trained to keep their language and voices neutral, for just this reason: it's an unfair burden on them when so many of us who are sick are looking for signs or unstated reasons to hope during the waiting. (my emphasis)...
...The doctors and nurses in my life don’t prolong the anticipation with pleasantries...With so much muddy logic crowding out reason, it’s best when news, good or bad, is delivered quickly and clearly...
...We like to think that the empathy broadcast...is an evolutionary comfort; something we are programmed to welcome and offer freely ourselves. As a comment on something that has already happened, it probably works. But as an anticipatory tool, it does not soften the blow, indeed it does the opposite.
As Healthy Survivors, while you are waiting
Let those who are close to you know what helps.
Recognize that what helps you one time may not help the same way another time.
Find mantras that work for you.
Blow it off, if others say irritating things.
As a Healthy Survivor, I have never liked the concept of "wait and see," whether we're talking about waiting for test results or to see if my lymphoma recurs. What a waste of time!