What is remission?

debtThe word ‘remission’, in cancer patients, tends to be cause for celebration. It is declared when all signs of disease are gone. But, in practice, there is usually a time factor. Try as may I can’t find any reference to how long after treatment it is safe to declare remission. In the various definitions, it merely says that remission means ‘no evidence of residual disease.’ Indeed, NED (no evidence of disease) is another word that is used. But by that definition I was in remission (NED) from the moment of my first post treatment scan.

I was certainly not encouraged to think of myself in that way – just the opposite (see My blog page). I doubt that most patients look on it as remission when they are still recovering from surgery or chemo. In fact, nobody ever talks about remission in cases of glioblastoma… ever. The medical establishment is so convinced that even the best treatment does not remove all the cancer and recurrence is not a matter of if, but when.

The dictionary definition of remission (in non-medical terms) talks about the ‘cancellation of debt, charge or penalty’. I prefer this definition. It means that the debt is crossed through – it is still on record, it can be seen if you look hard at the scribbled out section, even if you can’t quite make out what the debt was, you know something happened in the past. BUT IT IS NO LONGER RELEVANT.

Don’t consider yourself still sick just because you still have some blots and scars. Cancelled does not necessarily mean erased. And do not, I repeat NOT, consider your remission/NED status as a temporary phenomenon! Just as the cancelled debt, it will only return it you accrue more debt. Your cancer has been cancelled. The debt is paid. Now go and make sure you don’t get into that state again!


Cancer is a wake up call, not a death sentence. Put right whatever n your life that has allowed this opportunist to exploit you. Heed the call. Lots of pages in this blog explore what things I needed to give attention to, to understand, to implement change. They may be different things for you, but nobody I know who has a successful outcome from cancer has carried on precisely the same as before. And nobody that I know who has confounded their prognosis has looked upon the changes they made as temporary. Life changes afer a cancer diagnosis – it is meant to. Relish it.

Go out and live life with this clean slate. The debt is cancelled iindelibly, it will not come back. It was not without cost, so never undervalue the price that has been paid but live with gratitude not fear.

Oh, and P.S. –  Not in remission yet? – Says who?! The debt is cancelled when at its worst, not when it is nearly cleared. Those who have most to cancel are the most grateful (to misquote Luke 7:47*).


* “he who has been forgiven least, loves least.”



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