Living with Cancer as a Chronic Condition
My first reaction to being diagnosed with Cancer was this overwhelming need to get it cut out of me. I felt like I had some foreign invader in my body that was out to kill me. This was War, and it was either me or the Cancer that would win this fight for survival. I think that my visceral reaction was caused by years of being inundated with stories of early detection, removal, treatment and survival or (G-d forbid) the opposite. Those who had their cancer “cured”, and those who had lost their battle.
My Mazal (good luck), was that I was diagnosed late December of 2012. All my doctors went on their Christmas vacations and I had a two week window to do the research that will probably save my life. Otherwise, (but for the grace of G-d) I would have been herded into Surgery (which can spread the cancer), Chemo (which may or most likely may not kill ALL of the most virulent invasive cancers) 1 and Radiation (which can both cure malignancies and also induce second primary tumors and chromosome aberrations). Many women are herded into these treatments in an assembly line fashion without looking into any other options, and without really understanding what is the absolute benefit or risks of each treatment. You can’t really make an informed decision that way. (You can see that according to the The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult MalignanciesThe contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies (see the concluding results in the chart below) or Dr. Ralph W. Moss's explanation of it, these “Golden Standard” treatments would have given me only an added absolute post Chemotherapy benefit of 1.4% in the next 5 years. Certainly not enough “Benefit”, to put myself through the damage, pain and expense.)
Since those first two weeks, I have read hundreds of studies and articles about Cancer in general and Breast Cancer in particular. This is my first foray into the (technologically challenging for me) world of blogging in order to share this information with people who need a plain speak version to comprehend the complex medical world of cancer. (Thank G-d for tech savvy children.)