Calling All Pain Killers

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: July 14th, 2011  |  Category: Cancer Chaos  |  Comments: Say Something »

Have you heard of a port?

I’m not talking about the kind where ships dock, and I’m not talking about the Tawney fortified type either.

I’m talking about the kind that’s implanted just beneath the skin of a patient – typically on the chest or in the stomach – which connects to a vein so that drugs can be injected and blood samples can be drawn.

(Bet you wish I were talking about one of the former.)

Anyway, this medical port is supposedly an innovation in intravenous drug delivery – giving providers more easy access while reducing the pain of repeatedly jabbing needles directly into a patient’s vein. Nevertheless, my mom’s acute anxiety started the moment she woke up on a Friday (her chemotherapy days), knowing the port would be accessed. She held her breath intensely and looked like she was about to take a bullet to the chest the moment before a nurse [...]

Top 5 Things NOT to Do the Day Your Parent is Diagnosed with Cancer

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: July 12th, 2011  |  Category: Cancer Chaos  |  Comments: 4 comments »

Number one is so important that I’m just going to dive right in.

1.  Do not Google your parent’s disease. Step away from that search engine; don’t even think about typing the letters W-e-b-M-D, and by all means, resist the urge to browse cancer-related forums or group chats. You really don’t know how hazardous this can be until you do it, but I promise you this: You won’t find any comfort in what you’ll encounter.

My father was a psychiatrist who spent a large part of his early career devoted to research. Here is what he used to say about statistics: “It doesn’t matter what the statistic is; all that matters is the side of the statistic you’re on.”  In other words, survival rates, percentages and other statistical data only go so far. Your parent is not a collection of patients. Your parent is one person. Focus on your sample size of [...]

Top 5 Things To Do the Day Your Parent is Diagnosed with Cancer

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: July 7th, 2011  |  Category: Cancer Chaos  |  Comments: 3 comments »

A cancer cell is like a cockroach. It can survive anywhere; you’re always shocked where it turns up, and after you bring in the exterminator, you hold your breath, in constant fear that it will come back.

For years, we’ve listened to the medical community preach about the willful masterminds that are cancer cells. They elude poisonous drugs; they adapt to treacherous conditions quickly, and they multiply faster than you can say, “chemotherapy”.

In my opinion, the true shrewdness of the cancer cell is manifested not by the havoc it wrecks on a patient’s body but in its vengeful reach beyond the patient – to me. When my mom battled pancreatic cancer for 10 months, I didn’t have cancer, but cancer had me.

And for this very reason, I want to share the five most important things to do the day your parent (or any loved one for that matter) is diagnosed with [...]