The Cancer Center’s Story Project is an effort to capture stories from our community of patients, friends, family, clinicians, and staff who have been affected by cancer in some way. This is Trudi's Story.
- Trudi Fondren worked at Mass General Hospital for almost 40 years. During her time here, she worked as a lab and research technologist and was part of the Friends of the Mass General Cancer Center. She was also diagnosed with a type of bone cancer.
- "People who go through similar experiences, you sort of bond. You understand each other."
“It started in 1987, when I was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer. I was working at the hospital at the time, working at the hospital has its perks. I got the chief orthopedic to take care of me. When he found out what the problem was, I had a bunch of tests done. When I went to see him on what the problem was, I had no idea what was going on. He said, ‘Do want the good news or the bad news first?’ I said, ‘The good news.’ He said, ‘Well, good news is that we can take care of you, the bad news is that you have cancer.’”
“Since I was working at the hospital during all of this time, I would periodically get a call from my doctors saying, “Can you come down to my office? I want you to talk to someone.” I did that a lot for him, in the process I established a lot of wonderful relationships. As you can imagine, people who go through similar experiences, you sort of bond. You understand each other. All these things have been, and still are important of my life.”
“If I see any tendency of a person having any kind of positive attitude, I obviously encourage them. But, I would have a hard time telling a patient, ‘You need to have a positive attitude.’ Because they work really hard at having a positive attitude and things don’t work out well. They’re going to be right back in the hole they were in before and they’re going to blame themselves thinking they didn’t try hard enough. Trying to tell people to have a good attitude I don’t think is the way to go. I think trying to encourage them to do as much positive things as they can is. Try to help them find resources or somebody who can help them. I think that to me would be more of a help.”
People who go through similar experiences, you sort of bond. You understand each other.
This interview took place in July 2016 and has been edited for clarity.