Assumptions and the School of Cancer

Assumptions and the School of Cancer By: MsInterpretation October 11, 2011

As with many living with a chronic, terminal or unresolved health issue, I’ve become a student of my condition. I’ve found, in the course of my schooling, that Assumptions abound.

Diagnosis and the assumption: I felt in pre-school when my doctor said, in gentle tones: “You have DCIS: Ductal carcinoma in situ.” She handed me the lab report, and wrote down a website, instructing: “Only look at this particular information, The rest will just freak you out.” Providing specifics of a website seems responsible, recognizes the power of the internet, and is in keeping with the principles of Participatory Medicine.

I remember none of this. I know it happened, because I have the paper to prove it. What I do remember is that I understood DCIS to be exactly the opposite of what it meant. What I understood from DCIS was, “Cancer’s in my ducts. That’s the same as lymph nodes. That’s bad. In situ. That must mean it’s inoperable. I have to prepare myself for death. And I also need to prepare my family.” I left the office a dead woman.

It was a friend (diagnosed with DCIS more than a decade before) who described [...] continue the story