A woman looks out from inside a magnifying glass with a sad expression.

A Different Perspective on the Waiting Game

Last updated: November 2022

For several years, I’ve shared my caregiver story with different cancer organizations, friends, and strangers battling cancer. As a quick summary, my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, with bladder cancer five years later, and this year, I have been taking care of my precious daughter who is battling breast cancer.

It’s hard being a caregiver. Sometimes you don’t know how to help. You have to do things you feel totally unprepared for. You see things you can’t fix. You do your best to be encouraging, but there are days where it just doesn’t happen. Cancer is ugly. That’s the simple truth, but the truth nonetheless.

Waiting for test results is hard

I’ve been told by many cancer patients that the waiting is hard. You wait for tests, wait for a doctor appointment, wait for treatment, wait for phone calls. You wait to feel better, to get your life back. Waiting is hard.

There are countries where patients wait for months, if not years, for treatment, or may not have access to medical services at all. I’m grateful for our health system in the United States. While not perfect and certainly with room for improvement, we have options, we have hospitals, we have first-class medical equipment and technology.

Now experiencing it first-hand as a patient

I am now experiencing first-hand what it’s like to be waiting. My annual mammography showed a potential problem, so I was scheduled for some diagnostic testing. I waited for the appointment to be scheduled and waited for the test to take place once it was on my calendar. This was followed by a biopsy. Again more waiting. Wait for the appointment, wait for the biopsy, wait for the results.

As I said and what most of you have experienced, waiting is not easy. Waiting is frightening, down-right scary. It can shake your nerves and impact, or almost eliminate, your sleep. As a caregiver, I’ve felt the same tension when playing the waiting game, but I’m sure not to the degree felt by the patient. Now I know that for a fact. As a patient as of the last few weeks, I know first-hand waiting is hard and am aware of the effect waiting can have on your mind, soul, and spirit.

What my test results showed

I just learned that the biopsy results showed I have cancer. This is the first time I’ve written those words as it applies to me. That’s hard, too. Lots more “stuff” ahead of me. Yes, more waiting. Lots of unknown. I’m not sure how to be the one receiving the care instead of being the caregiver. I guess I’ll learn.

I know this is a site for prostate cancer. But my point here is applicable to anyone, anywhere, any patient, any disease. I want to stress and reiterate what others have said so often here. Early detection is key. While we have to wait for some things in life, don’t wait to get started on your health care. My cancer was found early and the prognosis is good. If I wasn’t tested on the recommended schedule, this could be far worse. So please, stop waiting. Don't delay that test. Don’t delay your doctor visit. Don’t delay treatment if it's needed.

Waiting is hard, but sometimes waiting for something that we shouldn’t wait for is even harder.

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