Monday, August 31, 2015

Life Is A Journey

Just last week, I was visiting a friend and saw a magnet on the frig: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” The past year has been quite a journey. Like so many, I have been treated for cancer. Although I have cared for others combating the disease, nothing can prepare you for confronting your mortality and undergoing the myriad of tests, procedures, radiation, chemotherapy, clinical trials and scans. Lots of scans. Monthly, I sit in the outpatient area waiting for lab work;the number of patients is overwhelming. Some come from the city, others travel significant distances. Some have insurance and may take the profound costs associated with care for granted. Others cannot afford some medications prescribed to ease nausea or other side effects. Too many patients come alone. There is nothing normal or familiar about being diagnosed or treated for cancer. Right now, I am relieved to be resuming what was my normal routine. Being at Johns Hopkins has been a lifesaver for me. As a long-time employee I know many of the physicians, the hospital, parking lots and amenities. And, through the annual Johns Hopkins women’s health program, A Woman’s Journey, I have gained a basic understanding about of cancer, its symptoms, new treatment approaches, and long term and late effects. I think how difficult it must be for other patients who haven’t had this exposure and experience. I am pleased that among the 32 sessions taught by Johns Hopkins faculty at this year’s A Woman’s Journey are two seminars that address symptoms we can’t ignore, and precision medicine, also known as targeted therapy. As women, one in three of us are destined to have some form of cancer in our lifetime. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about cancer as well as strategies to stay well. As for me, I hope to be there to join you. Leslie

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