I had cancer pretty bad, not as bad as some, worse than others. But a few aspects of a cancer diagnosis are universal:
1. We face mortality. What is my life worth? Creating a living will? For some, it is the first real time to have considered death.
2. We face the possibility of recurrence. "No evidence of disease" is not a "get out of jail free card." Six months after completing treatment, I had a CT scan and bone scan. I was told the results were clear, then fifteen minutes later told that something was suspicious about my ovaries. Those who have had a cancer diagnosis realize how tentative the status of NED truly is.
3. Like motherhood, living through treatment is membership into a club. After having children, i was surprised by the number of strangers who would initiate a conversation about childbirth or rearing children. The same is true of cancer patients. I was at a theme park and a man noticed my port. He'd had cancer too, and we shared our experiences.
There are more similarities that all cancer patients past and present share. And, although they may vary by degree slightly, they are universal.