Granular cell cancer survivor: 6 tips for seeking treatment far from home

I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive granular cell cancer in May 2017. Because the disease is so unusual, I sought treatment at MD Anderson — a two-hour flight from my home in Indiana and a 15-hour drive by car. Throughout June and early July 2017, my husband and I made several trips back and forth — down to Texas for evaluation, a return home, back to Texas for surgery, home to Indiana to heal, then back again to Texas for six weeks of proton therapy. Here are six things I learned along the way: Line up your housing early: Tour apartments and other housing options while you’re in Houston for your initial evaluation. Then you’ll be ahead of the game and prepared to choose one when the time comes for treatment. MD Anderson’s Patient Travel Services team can help you secure reduced-cost housing, transportation and airfare. Your assigned MD Anderson social work counselor can also provide a list of companies that offer long-term housing in a variety of price ranges. Many of them have shuttles that will take you MD Anderson’s Texas Medical Center Campus, though not usually after 6 p.m. Get a place with room for a guest: Consider leasing an apartment that has room for a guest. I did, and it not only saved on hotel bills for visitors, but allowed supportive family members to come and go throughout my treatment. Take advantage of the services offered: If you are receiving treatment at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, join one of the support groups for weekly lunch gatherings and cheerleading. And be sure to...