What it’s Like Walking Into a Cancer Center as a Patient

There was no greater feeling in the world than hearing my tumor was benign.

Make no mistake however, these monsters can be invasive, grow aggressively, damaging to vital organs and in some cases, have caused fatalities. I feel like I say this all the time, but I am very lucky that my tumor is where it is. I don’t have a ton of symptoms and beyond that, with a lot of self discipline and complete change up in lifestyle, mine has begun to shrink without invasive medicines like chemotherapy or radiation.

One thing that hit me hardest about having a Desmoid Tumor and was most confusing to me at the time was that I was told I would be treated at a cancer center. I was assigned to an Oncologist and am being seen at Dana Farber in Boston, Ma.

While I feel extremely grateful to be in the hands of a world class cancer care facility, something hits me in the gut each time we drive to the city and walk into the building.

Dana Farber
Photo courtesy of DanaFarber.org

It’s not anything in particular that makes me want to burst into tears, but each time we drive into the parking garage, my hands get clammy, every muscle in my body gets tense and my stomach starts to flip. I wish I could chalk this up to white coat syndrome, because I am never really happy to be at the doctor, but there is something I am feeling deeper than just nerves.

I think, I just feel it. I feel it all.

I feel the sadness for so many who have had to deal with a terminal illnesses. I feel the heartbreak of a devastating diagnosis. I feel the excitement of those who are in remission and don’t have to walk those halls as frequently anymore. I also feel the strength of all the warriors who have walked through those doors. I feel the support and comfort they receive from their caregivers and doctors. I feel the prayers and words of hope pouring out of the walls. I also feel so glad that brave doctors and nurses exist who make navigating a hard journey that so many face a little bit more bearable.


Sitting in the same waiting room with someone who is in the middle of their brutal chemotherapy rounds has a way of reminding you just how fragile life and health really are.

I feel almost guilty every time I am there, that I was spared of cancer and they were not.

How lucky I am to live my life and plan my future and wake up every morning feeling really good. I am so grateful. I AM SO DAMN GRATEFUL.

I hope none of you reading this ever have to walk into a Cancer Institution as a patient or a caregiver. Every time I leave there I am reminded, again, that life can change instantly and no one is invincible. My small inconveniences that I face day to day aren’t really inconveniences at all. We should all feel lucky to be able to sit in traffic or go to work or even just have a small health ailment that is treatable.

I guess, walking into a Cancer Institute, simply put, is just an incredibly humbling, emotional experience.





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