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Articles by G van Londen, MD

Dr. van Londen is a cancer provider/medical oncologist and a cancer survivor. Born and raised in The Netherlands, she has migrated to the USA where she completed a medical residency, as well as fellowships in medical oncology and geriatric medicine. She has practiced medicine in the USA for nearly 20 years at a large health care system in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Her background has prepared her to handle diverse and complicated cases. She specializes in: 1) Treating newly diagnosed, older breast cancer patients by performing a geriatric assessment and creating a personalized, multidisciplinary treatment plan that aims to respect patient’s preferences and desire for independence. 2) Cancer survivorship care to prevent/support the late/long-term post-treatment needs of cancer survivors of any gender and tumor type (and their caregivers). Together with a village of various supportive care providers, she performs clinical, research, and educational activities to empower cancer survivors (and their caregivers and providers) to support the post-treatment emotional, physical, and functional needs of cancer survivors. The content of this domain is protected. Entries and replies are not endorsements. Views are mine. No COI.
Cancer – Saying Goodbye

Cancer – Saying Goodbye

Everyone who knows me knows that I have a really hard time saying goodbye. I am not sure why. Maybe it’s just a quirk of mine. Or maybe it’s because I have lost friends and family members due to moves (this was before the internet!) and illness. I guess that’s what makes me me.  

You may miss a person, a pet or even the ‘old’ you before cancer hit. It may last for one day or one week or one month or one year or indefinitely. The cause may be that someone is moving to a different part of the country or the world — or leaving our world. 

The loss of someone (or something) who was near and dear to you leads to grief. Grief never goes away, as you may have experienced. Over time, as you pass through the grieving stages in your own unique way and order, things may become a bit more bearable and maybe even give new meaning to your life. 

Connecting with others who have also gone through a loss may help (such as this Facebook group by David Kessler). Sharing the pain. Feeling less alone. Learning how to put words to your feelings to allow you to create your narrative. 

We all tell ourselves stories that sooth us. Our stories are defined by our personal perspective, driven by our culture and religion and upbringing. Only you can write your story, which you may refine or even rewrite as you get older and gain new insights. 

No one knows for sure what happens to our loved ones after they pass and so no one can refute your version. 

I believe that we will see each other again — in the afterlife, but even in our current lifetime, which might be evidenced by, if you are open to them, certain signs that hint that your loved one is signaling you. There are more concrete ways to see our departed loved ones again, by replaying audio or video clips, or even leaving a voicemail for them to feel like you are connecting as before. 

Saying goodbye to someone is so final. It puts a lot of pressure on the moment, making sure the last impression is the one you would like to leave them with. Have you said and done all you can or would like to? It’s almost paralyzing. Maybe that’s why I prefer to not say goodbye, but “Until we meet again!”

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