When we think of end of life, we tend to focus on terminal experiences. However, in some cases, the death experience can last for a while. B.J Miller in his TedTalk shared in the challenge brief mentioned that his formal experience with death started with his accident. This is also the case with people with cancer (or similar diseases): "The ongoing horror of cancer survivorship is a big, dirty secret, full of tests and fear, as the stereotypical survivor remains inspirationally uplifting." was the summary of an article written in The Guardian a few days ago.
I think it highlights what Miller describes as the "unnecessary suffering" that the system sometimes creates - e.g. the waiting room, the way the information is provided.
It also highlights the difficulty for survivors to admit their fears and anxiety in 'light of the stereotypical survivor'.
"After the first event, a 45-minute blood draw with an IV, I texted Anya again. “I cannot wait to get out of here,” I said.
Anya was confused. All my advance talk of “practically a spa day” – the robe; the free tea – and the movie banter had led her to believe that, seven years on, cancer was in my rearview mirror. I would’ve thought so too.
But it always follows me. I try to fake it out by pretending things are OK. If I pretend, I can sort of believe it too, for a time. So I pulled Anya into fantasyland with me, until I couldn’t."
This reminded me of Emily's cards and the possibility to create conversations - possibly with humor to counterbalance the fear. It also suggests a difficult and subtle balance between not being only a patient (this is why often people might not mention their fear and anxiety) and acknowledging that while you are the same, you still are anxious and scared.
It also reminded me of Ned's point about "vulnerability": how to nurture vulnerability and the possibility of admitting fear and anxiety.