What’s in a Name?

Words are powerful!

My Mom always taught me to keep it simple: speak and write so that people understand my meaning. She worked with lawyers and knew the importance of precise language. She also knew that legal language could be hard for ordinary folks to understand.

We all have stories of damage caused by communication failures. For many years I worked with university students, listening intently and trying to choose my words with care. Communication has always been important to me, and many times I’ve appreciated the wisdom of my Mom’s advice to keep it simple, to communicate so that others will understand.

I’m finding it much more challenging to communicate well these past two and a half years. It takes energy and ability that I don’t always have. I’m thankful for the ways friends and family members help me by occasionally suggesting words and/or deciphering my words when I can’t get the right ones. I’m so grateful when they extend grace by assuming the best from me rather than letting potential miscommunications damage our relationship. We all need that kind of grace, don’t we!

I can see ways in which my abilities have been improving due to the homework my OT has given me. I still overdo things and have better / worse days, but overall the trend seems to be improving. I’m learning my limits … sort of! 🙂

Sometimes medical language is challenging. Occasionally I attempt to read articles which are not written for ordinary people like me. Sometimes I think I’m getting the gist of it. Other times I haven’t got a clue!

So, while I can’t give you accurate details about the articles I’ve been trying to understand, I can tell you that there is good news in cancer research for people with a diagnosis like mine! More drugs are being developed to fight the kind of cancer I was diagnosed with in December 2013. Back then, there was only one new targeted therapy available. Now I’m on my second, and if it stops working for me, there are several more which are in various stages of development.

The one I’m taking now is not yet (I think!) available in Canada by prescription. I continue to receive it through the clinical trial I am participating in. I am currently finishing up Cycle 22, and the medical folks keep adding pages to my file, praise God! Last time I was in, the nurse said they had to contact the company, since the information they had for the clinical trial didn’t go this many cycles! I’m glad to be pushing the boundaries! 🙂

Tests often reveal good news using language like: “stable”, “no progression”, or “unremarkable”. I much prefer the word my oncologist used to describe how my lungs look after my CT scan last month: “perfect”! This is a word that has power to make my heart sing and my feet jump for joy!

Lungs perfect, heart grateful beyond words!


Green goodness!


Lovely afternoon at a friend’s peaceful cottage!


Loon on a green lake

5 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Thank you Jill for this wonderful post. You are an amazing person I am blessed to know. May every blessing be poured upon you and your dear family.

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