I’m an educator. It’s what I do for a living. I’m a literacy teacher to be more specific, so I spend a lot of time teaching kids about words. Words are often more than just their definitions. Some come with multiple meanings and can be used as different parts of speech. Some words have positive connotation while others come across as very offensive. A word can actually become much more than its meaning by symbolizing something totally different. Words are also associated with many other things too. Basically, words are a very complex part of literacy.
This post addresses two words: Cancer & Remission and their misconceptions by the outside world.
- Cancer never made me sick. I never felt sick while I had cancer. It was chemo that made me sick and nearly killed me.
- Cancer doesn’t always mean death. I’ve been approached by people who are 40+ year survivors, and have heard of survivors of cancer who died of something totally unrelated to cancer.
- Remission doesn’t mean cancer-free. Remission means a diminution of the seriousness or intensity of disease or pain; a temporary recovery. Some of us get lucky enough to stay in remission the rest of our lives. Others come in and out of remission for the rest of theirs.
- Remission doesn’t mean you are instantly well either, especially if you’ve undergone chemotherapy and/or radiation. Chemo & radiation can have lifelong effects that make a patient adjust to a new normal. Even if you don’t suffer from any lifelong side effects, it often takes 9-18 months to remove the toxins of treatment and stop suffering from side effects. Fatigue and brain fog are two of the most common long term side effects of chemotherapy.
- Cancer and remission both create a roller coaster of emotions for both the patient and the family of the patient. There are many extreme moments of highs and lows. People on the outside looking in have a really hard time grasping these emotions especially since all members involved often experience differing emotions at the same time. They also struggle when a cancer patient’s emotions don’t always match their connotation to the word.
Vocabulary lesson complete. 🙂