How A Cancer Diagnosis Changed Our Lives For the Better

Teresa Bacal
8 min readOct 12, 2020

5 Lessons I Learned To Be A Champion Advocate and Caregiver

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

I remember the exact moment my husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When you hear the word “cancer” everything in your world stops and that moment is imprinted into your memory. I remember the room, where I was sitting, where my husband was sitting and mostly, the look on my husband’s face. The color drained from his face and I knew in that instance, I would be in charge of this journey that was forced upon us.

As the doctor announced the course of action, threw out terms we were not familiar with and laid out the treatment plan, as if we had no choice, I interrupted him. “Excuse me” I said, “we have questions before we agree to any treatment plan.” He looked at me like I just interrupted The Pope and said, “This is the protocol for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and we need to start treatment right away.” Well, that ignited my fire and it was on. “This might be your 100th time dealing with a cancer diagnosis, but this is our first, and we will not be agreeing to anything, until my questions are answered,” was my reply. The doctor gave me a cold stare and was apparently aghast that I dare question his recommendation and the protocol. Undeterred, I then asked one question, “I read that diet is very important during cancer treatment, especially eliminating sugar. What are your thoughts on that?” He quickly retorted, “He can eat whatever he wants, diet has nothing to do with how he will do during treatment.” I looked at my husband, who still hadn’t said a word as I think he was in a bit of shock and said, “We are leaving.”

Lesson 1: Just Because Someone Is An “Expert” Doesn’t Mean They Know What Is Best For You

As we stood up to leave, the Oncologist looking confused, asked “Where are you going, you can’t just leave.” I calmly stated, “Actually, we can leave. Thank you for your time, my husband will not be getting treated here.” Mind you, this was a very well-known treatment center and I am fairly certain most people don’t walk out, but the doctor had just thrown me a “red flag”. I knew, from experience in the business world, that my first interaction with this doctor, was a strong indication of how we would be treated moving forward. I was…

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Teresa Bacal

Always looking for ways to Live Better | Addicted to Travel | Serial Entrepreneur | Outdoor Enthusiast | Event Consultant | www.JTGrey.com |