Beating cancer is a victory to a race no one wants to run. For those that survive, it can be life-affirming. For care providers, nothing is more rewarding than saving someone's life.
Major_Blackbird asked: Doctors of reddit, what was the best reaction of a patient after receiving the message that they're cancer free?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Cancer is no joke.
He came to his last chemo dressed as a clown wearing a sash that read 'Last Chemo Today.' Not gonna lie, I cried. I'd lost 5 patients that week, two of whom I'd become very close to.
My very charismatic and optimistic friend got cancer in high school, and his nurses cried in front of him multiple times because they were sure he was going to die. He said it was unreal being surrounded by people dying all the time, especially because he was in a children's hospital.
Is he ok now?
He survived the cancer.
Flying to victory.
I'm a medical student on the pediatric oncology floor right now, and yesterday a 2-year-old just had her last chemo treatment. She got to ring the bell (for kids who finish treatments) and she was wearing fairy wings and went around and hugged each nurse who cared for her. She had a tough course - a year of chemo, stem cell transplants, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy - and it was so wonderful to see her celebrate.
2 years old, one year treatment. Half her life was a battle. It is unimaginable to think about it. True warrior.
Yeah she's such a rock star. She was a big Frozen fan and always had me listen to her Elsa doll's heart after I'd check hers!
Party in the ward!
Not a doctor but I'm an oncology nurse and the best reaction was when one of my favorite patients put on his call light and when I went to see what he needed he had his provider in the room. He asked her to repeat what she just said to him which was "the scans are clean - the masses have gone." We both freaked out and basically screamed and cried together.
His wife recently just sent our unit a photo of him and their first child just born in February and wrote that he's still cancer free!
Hey mom, I won.
Not a doctor. But one summer I cleaned in the hospital.
Everyday I would clean the room of a woman with cancer, and the second I walk in she would ask if her hair looked good. Always pointing to her wig at a fake head and laughing.
One day I walked in when she just hung up the phone while crying. I apologized and asked if she needed a nurse or something. She told me that she just shared the news with her mom that she was cancer free.
Who put these onions here?!
Ding dong the disease is dead.
I literally saw a video just yesterday either on FB or here of a woman just ringing the f*ck out of that bell and it was one of the happiest things I've ever seen. I mean just banging it and giving it whiplash lol
My cousin is currently going through radiation and chemo treatments so hopefully this will be her one day soon!
My aunt passed just over a year ago. She never got to ring that damn bell. I'm so happy for the lady you described in the video. But dammit, I miss my aunt even more right now. Best wishes for your cousin!
For some, the win is unbelievable.
They asked if I could check again.
Well, did you?
I'd check as many times as they would ask.
MyChart is the Xanax of medical apps.
Not a doctor, I'm a survivor.
I wasn't actually told in conversation of the good news. I finished treatment, had the follow up scans, and then radio silence.
I kept telling myself that if it was bad news I'd definitely be getting a call. There's always that nagging "what if" though. Weeks later I see that medical notes from the last PT and CT are available for viewing through MyChart (an app for health services stuffs).
I begin scouring it discerning English from Latin based medical terminology, and there it was.
"No evidence of cancer"
It's now been two years since I finished treatment, and it feels like another lifetime ago. A different me.
For those of you going through this. I'm sorry. It's a thing. But it's just a thing. A thing you will get through and conquer. Keep that focus pointing positive and surround yourself with it. You can do this. It's hard, not impossible. You are enough. You got this.
Samsies. They don't wanna tell you, just in case they are wrong. I learned when the check out receptionist didn't schedule a future appointment. I kinda wanted a ceremony, a certificate of merit or something.
Never got it. So I made up a bunch of my own rituals. Jumped naked into a freezing swimming hole. Drank one of those bloody marys with an entire meal on skewers on to. Bought myself a gaudy gemstone ring. Told off the 4 docs who told me nothing was wrong while the tumor grew. Camped overnight by myself for an entire weekend. Bought exactly $200 of my favorite songs for a portable playlist of happiness. Overshared to strangers on reddit.
That just happened.
I'm fine. We're fine. Don't need no stinking badges.
We're outta here.
Not a doctor, not even a patient. I'm the daughter of the patient. I remember standing in the hospital bathroom waiting to use the hand dryer and asking when we'd come back next ( I was very young) and my older sister gave me this little smile and told me that we didn't need to come back again.
Pathologists are unsung heroes.
Pathologist here, who are the ones that actually diagnose whether or not a patient is "cancer free."
I guess it depends on whether you are asking whether the patient has gone into remission, or been told a suspicious lesion was actually non-cancerous all along. I cannot speak to how the patients feel, but it certainly feels personally good when this huge suspicious-looking mass that comes in from surgery and is actually benign.
Thanks for doing what you do. I often reflect on the fact that pathologists have a huge amount of responsibility that does not get recognised by the rest of the medical fraternity, and certainly not by patients.
The truth is very powerful, even if it's bad news.
I mostly diagnose people with cancer, but had one gentleman, who I thought was totally screwed, come back to give me a hug in my primary care office.
I have only been practicing for a few years, and while I was actually very scared to diagnose people with cancer, I now find it to be one of the most rewarding things that I do, even if the patient dies, and especially if the oncologists and myself can get them to die peacefully. Everyone is very appreciative.
It must be hard to be the messenger of one of the worst things they get told in their lives.
People are appreciative to you because you give them a clear answer I guess. And that answer isn't always negative ^