Cancer Survivorship Clinic

May 7, 2019 Patti kwok, ARNP, PhD

Have you made your survivorship clinic visit yet? You do not need a doctor’s referral. Call (206) 320-8266.

The word “survivorship” is often used in several different ways. One common definition is a person having no disease after finishing treatment. Another definition is the process of living with, through and/or beyond cancer. Some people do not like calling themselves a survivor if they continue to live with cancer every day. In our survivorship clinic we offer appointments to anyone who would like to talk about their journey at any phase. 

There are many great reasons to schedule an appointment. Unfortunately, there are still several misconceptions about cancer coming from the media, culture, and community such as:

  • The end of treatment must be a celebration.
  • Recovery should occur as soon as treatment ends.
  • You should go quickly back to your old self.
  • You do not need support after treatment is over.

These myths can often create more anxiety and fear because they are unrealistic expectations for most people.  The main purpose goal of a survivorship visit is to empower a new sense of calmness beyond hearing statistics, taking time to validate how each individual has experienced their journey, and exploring what survivorship and wellness mean on an individual level including help with finding the “new normal.” We have many community resources and you will receive a treatment summary including a list of team members, a list of treatment, a follow-up plan, and helpful websites.

Here is what a patient said about her visit:

““I believe that every cancer patient deserves a personalized Survivorship Care Plan as a necessary part of their recovery from cancer treatment. Once our surgeries, chemo, radiation, or immunotherapy is finished we are left hanging, wondering what’s next. Visiting the Survivorship Clinic helped me acknowledge what I’ve been through and gave me the resources I need to move forward in my healing process.” K. H.

Survivorship was beautifully and powerfully described recently by a patient with a diagnosis of advanced cancer. Her description highlighted the need to step back beyond the data points and facts, finding a deeper meaning - one that transcends ordinary life.

Survive—means the opposite of control. To live more freely and that is the real miracle “Sur” in French means “over”, “above” (sur la table)

“Vivre” “to live” in Latin

To Survive-- to live above the usually known life—a life with higher quality than ordinary life

Therefore we invite each patient to move above the square of life and become a cube—containing many new possibilities despite the many challenges. As another patient with stage IV cancer attested to, “regardless of whether we have a cancer diagnosis, we all have the same ax over our heads.”

Seeking a professional to address any overwhelming or disruptive anxiety or depression is important. Sometimes medication like antidepressants are helpful. However in the long haul, they will not solve the issue of coping with fear, loss, existential anxiety—the need to find meaning and purpose after facing so much uncertainty. These feelings and emotions can be overwhelming but are all normal when coping with the aftermath of a life-threatening illness. You do not have to face this uncertainty alone.

Life is uncertain. A culture that focuses only on cure causes us to repress the necessary emotions to love and live fully. In fact, idealistic definitions of health keep us from utilizing our own healing powers within and remembering what it means to simply be human. We strongly encourage you to consider making an appointment to our survivorship clinic and/or attending one of the free survivorship classes below: 

After Breast Cancer —includes presentations on topics such as nutrition, exercise, acknowledging uncertainty/fears, communication with your provider.

Thoughts about Recurrence—a forum for help with the “emotional hangover” from the diagnosis and treatment. Tools offered for overall wellness including mindfulness, yoga, resources for grief therapy/life transition counseling.

3 locations, with very experienced advance practice oncology nurses (ARNP’s)

To schedule or learn more call:

  1. First Hill—(206) 320-8266
  2. Issaquah—(425) 313-4200
  3. Edmonds— (425) 673-8300
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