Experiencing Cancer: Quality of Life in Treatment

By Kirsten Costain Schou; Jenny Hewison | Go to book overview

5
Being treated: navigating the
treatment calendar

In the previous chapter, our focus was on preparations for the start of the treatment calendar. The main elements of the treatment calendar at this stage were the lack of choice patients have over treatment; the impact of surgery; attempts to prepare for life in treatment; dealing with the losses caused by surgery; and the location of the various professionals in the treatment context. In this chapter we move to the actual experience of treatment and the work of the treatment calendar once it is properly under way. It must be remembered that ‘the treatment calendar’ for each patient will often be several discrete calendars run at the same time, some (like chemotherapy) lasting for a longer period of time than others. We will examine several main modes of treatment through patients' accounts of being treated. For the patient, the work of the treatment calendar involves interpreting its logic, and the meaning of changes within it. The time- and energy-consuming processes of going for treatment, dealing with its effects, attending reviews, and having to manage several modes of treatment (and several calendars) at the same time are major aspects of the experience of treatment that impact directly on patients' quality of life. The work of professionals in the treatment context has a direct bearing on how these quality of life concerns are dealt with.


The treatment work of the treatment calendar

The start of the treatment calendar brought about a change in the medical contexts of the illness experience for the patients interviewed here. The time of the treatment calendar was a time of greater simplification of the illness calendar for most patients, because a concrete plan was in place,

-110-

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Experiencing Cancer: Quality of Life in Treatment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Facing Death ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editor's Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Cancer and the Quality of Life: Psycho(Social) Oncology and the Medical Model 5
  • 2 - Treatment as Social Interaction 21
  • 3 - Diagnosis and the Early Illness Calendar 45
  • 4 - Getting Started: Preparing for Life in the Treatment Calendar 74
  • 5 - Being Treated: Navigating the Treatment Calendar 110
  • 6 - Discussion 153
  • Appendix 172
  • References 181
  • Index 191
  • New Themes in Palliative Care 198
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