Information, Hope and Above All, a Plan

Heal, Fall 2015, Volume 3, Issue 3

IT IS OFTEN SAID that “knowledge is power,” and one of our goals at Heal magazine is to empower survivors with the information they need to lead their best lives after cancer.

IT IS OFTEN SAID that “knowledge is power,” and one of our goals at Heal magazine is to empower survivors with the information they need to lead their best lives after cancer.

When a younger individual first hears the word “cancer,” issues of the treatment’s impact on fertility sometime in the future is, understandably, not likely to be top of mind.

Yet as the heartwarming stories and family photos shared in this issue of Heal illuminate, it ought to be. When a patient (or in some cases, a patient’s parent or spouse) asks the right questions of their healthcare team — at the right time — it can make all the difference when hoping to start a family down the road.

In this issue, you’ll learn how a mother’s dogged resolve to have her 16-year-old son’s sperm frozen before he embarked on treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma resulted in four grandchildren many years hence.

And, after being stunned by a thymic cancer diagnosis at the age of just 31, a bride-to-be’s determination to freeze her eggs before starting months of grueling treatment allowed her to fulfill her dream of starting a family soon after her honeymoon.

The protagonists in both of these stories are eager to share their experiences so that fertility preservation becomes part of the cancer treatment conversation and part of the plan. In the words of survivor Jennifer Manning:

“It’s all about having a plan. Plans give hope. Plans inspire.”

These themes of hope and determination also resonate in the selection of essays featured in this issue’s Community Voices section, where we publish insights from our ever-expanding group of contributors to curetoday.com. These patients and survivors share powerful lessons on how they live with cancer or its aftereffects each day — among them, finding strength in conquering their FEARs (“Face, Embrace, Accept and Release) and “practicing persistence … one minute, one hour and one day at a time.”

We hope that you, too, find in these pages strength and insights to guide your personal cancer journey or that of a loved one. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with suggestions for what you’d like to learn more about in future editions of Heal and on our website, CureToday.com.

As always, thank you for reading.

Mike Hennessy, SrChairman and CEO