Hope Throughout the Journey

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
Emily Dickinson

Hope is a very powerful and positive emotion that many people rely on during their fight against brain cancer.

The meaning of hope and the outcomes we hope for tend to evolve over time but what is consistent at its foundation is the future expectation that things are going to get better.

At first, patients and their caregivers are often shocked and traumatized when faced with the brain tumor diagnosis and they struggle to see how things can get better.  However, many people draw strength from others who are going through a similar situation and healthcare professionals who are dedicated to providing the very best care and treatment. People with this disease develop hope that they too can fight their brain cancer and move towards resuming daily activities.

As patients and their caregivers learn about their treatment options including participation in clinical trials they also find hope that the latest available treatments could possibly control or eliminate their brain cancer.

Unfortunately, as with many other cancers, brain cancers often recur.  When tumors come back, hope is strained but patients and caregivers commonly refocus, and look for positive ways to cope and look ahead to what the future may bring. There may be other treatment options and clinical trials to consider. In addition, they seek support for symptoms that may be interfering with living, such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping, walking and seeing. Improving symptom management provides hope that things are going to get better.

For some people, elimination or control of their brain cancer may become unlikely. As a passionate patient advocate, I find this to be the most challenging time. If treatment options have been exhausted, caregivers now aim to provide the best possible quality of life for the patient, hoping for peace and contentment.

Although it changes over time, we never lose hope.  It never stops – at all -.

About the Author: Mary Lovely Ph.D. RN, CNRNs

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