Words matter. These are the best Suleika Jaouad Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
Sex can be a squeamish subject even when cancer isn’t part of the picture, so the combination of sex and cancer together can feel impossible to talk about.
Today, my brother and I share almost identical DNA, the result of a successful bone marrow transplant I had last April using his healthy stem cells. But Adam and I couldn’t be more different.
At the age of 22, I began to consider my own mortality. It had never occurred to me that, with all of the progress that has been made in cancer research, none of the standard treatments would work for me.
Whether we’re too embarrassed or shy – or worried that a discussion about cost might affect the quality of our care – it’s clear that both doctors and patients need to do more communicating.
To say that I’m healed, uh, would be to imply that there’s an endpoint. And I think healing is something that we all do, that we’ll all continually do, for the rest of our lives.
Having cancer changed the way I ate and thought about food. My symptoms dictated my eating habits. The sores in my mouth and the bouts of nausea, for instance, stole the pleasure of eating and made it an ordeal. At some points in my treatment, eating wasn’t even an option.
Every single one of us will have our life interrupted, whether it’s by the ripcord of a diagnosis or some other kind of heartbreak or trauma that brings us to the floor. We need to find a way to live in the in-between place, managing whatever body and mind we currently have.
Like a lot of other cancer patients lying in hospital beds or in chemotherapy suites, I have spent a fair amount of time fantasizing about jetting off to a tropical island.
I remember my first day of chemo as if it were yesterday, hanging up my favorite summer dress like an athlete retiring a jersey. Within a few weeks, my waist had shrunk to a double zero – the size it was when I was in the sixth grade. My cheek bones jutting out. Rings under my eyes. Skin the color of chalk.
Cancer can catch even the best of us off guard. Sometimes the emotions come pouring out. Sometimes they stay locked inside.
Cancer had given me a reverse celebrity status: all the attention for something you didn’t want to be known for. I had crossed over into a new land, the land of Patient. And with every step I was feeling less like Suleika.
My column launched while I was in the bone marrow transplant unit. And I remember waking up the next morning and opening my inbox and seeing hundreds of emails from strangers all around the world.
I was born in New York City speaking French at home.
When opportunities and possibilities feel foreclosed upon, when you’re living with limitations, as I was, you have to find creative workarounds to exist, to hold on to some sense of self, to explore new parts of yourself that are emerging.
Getting diagnosed with cancer at 22 really magnified the in-betweenness that I felt. All of my friends were starting careers and going to parties and dating, and I was stuck – literally – in this one hospital bed for weeks on end.
To set a 100-day plan was to will myself into the future, no matter how uncertain it seemed.
I get along well with my medical team and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. But the idea of discussing my finances during a doctor’s appointment makes me uncomfortable.
Looking back, I call the first month after my diagnosis ‘the cancer bubble’ because I wasn’t showing obvious signs of my disease. I looked about the same – maybe a little more tired and pale than usual, but a stranger could never have guessed that I carried a secret, deep in my bones.
When I was first in the hospital, some of my visitors seemed so intent on not upsetting me that they avoided the topic of cancer altogether. Others just couldn’t seem to find any words.
While an increasing number of cancer treatment centers have begun offering post-treatment care plans and support groups to help patients navigate these challenges, many patients continue to fall through the cracks.
Getting healthy means listening to my body – and no longer comparing myself with other people at the gym. Getting healthy means being satisfied with small, sustainable, incremental changes to my diet and lifestyle.
Even amid the shock of my diagnosis, I held onto the hope that I’d be able to make the most of my down time by catching up on reading or watching all those Criterion Collection movies I’d always meant to watch.
There are days when I even long for the paralegal job that once upon a time made me so miserable. It wasn’t the perfect fit for me but it was satisfying to go to sleep each night after a hard day’s work at the office.
I’m a triple citizen of the United States, in Switzerland and Tunisia. And actually beyond just my immediate family, all of my family is abroad.
Traveling gave me the opportunity to reinvent myself. You can imagine my excitement when, one year after my bone marrow transplant and two years after my cancer diagnosis, my doctors gave me permission to take my first big trip since cancer. Freedom, finally!
Cancer isn’t something that makes you want to share, it’s something that makes you want to hide.
It felt like 10 years, but I was actually in treatment for three-and-a-half years. I finally finished in April. Two years ago, I had a bone marrow transplant from my brother, which saved my life, so I feel really grateful.
Cancer didn’t have to be permanent; in my case, I’m lucky that my cancer is curable, but infertility was. And it was the first time I realized that cancer wasn’t just something seasonal; it wasn’t something that was going to pass with the summer. It was something that was going to change my life forever.
You know, illness is not something that ever crossed my mind until I got diagnosed with leukemia two years ago at the age of 22. And I don’t take things for granted anymore.
I’ve struggled with the awkwardness of cancer ever since my leukemia was diagnosed last May. When I told people my news, some people froze, falling silent. One person immediately began telling a story of an aunt who had died from the same kind of leukemia.
Dozens of chemotherapy treatments and one bone marrow transplant later, I wish I could say that I’ve mastered the art of not working. But there are still days when I wake up feeling simultaneously restless and bored.
A growing body of evidence suggests that cancer survivors continue to struggle with medical, financial, professional and psychosocial issues long after the end of their cancer treatment.
It took me a long time to be able to say I was a cancer patient. Then, for a long time, I was only that: A cancer patient.
With a Catholic mother and a Muslim father, I’ve always had a great interest in religion, but I’ve never practiced one myself. After I received a diagnosis of an aggressive form of leukemia at the age of 22, I put my faith in medicine.
After college, I moved to Paris to work as a paralegal. I hadn’t been feeling well throughout most of my senior year of college, but I chalked it up to burning the candle at both ends. After I started my job, I began feeling more and more tired.
Survivorship comes with unspoken pressures, responsibilities and challenges. After all, what is the point of saving a life if the life isn’t a meaningful one?
When you are talking to a dog about cancer, there are no judgments or taboos.
For my 100-day project, I decided to keep a journal. It could be just one sentence. Often, it was just one word, occasionally the F-word. But it gave me a sense of structure.
We have birthdays and bar mitzvahs and funerals and weddings. And these ceremonies and rituals, I believe, really help us transition from one point to another.
I can always tell when my mother, an artist who grew up in Switzerland, starts to feel nostalgic for home. It is the smell of the crispy apple tarts, the ginger cookies, and the creamy muesli full of nuts and fresh berries. The scent alone delivers a rush of childhood memories for me.
I’ve been fortunate to be treated by excellent doctors at world-class hospitals. In the last year alone, my insurance has covered over a million dollars in medical expenses, including a bone marrow transplant and 10 hospitalizations amounting to a combined five months of inpatient care.
I think one of the difficult things for me was that I was putting on a brave face for my loved ones; they were putting on a brave face for me. But what got lost in that was the ability to talk about our fear.
But no conversation between doctor and patient can magically turn an uninsured patient into an insured one. Doctors are just as helpless as patients when it comes to solving the problems of the uninsured.
During the first year of my cancer treatment, adopting a dog was out of the question. I spent more time in the hospital than out. And in the time I was able to spend at home, I had to live in a germ-free bubble to protect my fragile immune system.
The first time I fantasized about early retirement, I was 22 years old. It was a rainy spring morning in Paris, and as I waited for the Metro to take me to my new paralegal job, it occurred to me that I’d rather be sleeping in, or playing hooky at the movies, or sailing around the world.
I think for a lot of women, when we find ourselves in the doctor’s office, there’s a kind of power dynamic there where sometimes it’s difficult to push back, to ask questions, to be persistenr.
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