I realized that my seed of a wish to witness change in people's experience with cancer was blossoming before my eyes. Just within my relatively short lifetime, we have evolved in opportunities and options, enabling people with cancer to have a better quality of life.
It's always a horrendous experience when you are told you are going to lose a body part. I unfortunately know way too many people who have had this happen during cancer treatment. But there's a little extra slap in the face when reproductive parts are in the equation.
Cancer treatment for women has become another example of a "product" that can be "marketed" to women based not on a presentation of scientific data, but on "softer" points such as "concierge service" and even hospital landscaping.
So Dr. Seuss' birthday was last week. Many don't know this, but Theodore Geisel died of throat cancer. Cancer has taken a lot of amazing people, but taking Dr. Seuss was beyond the pale to me. So in honor of his birthday, and with great affection, I present to you...
I still remember it vividly. It was the morning of the day where I had my hair shaved off for the first time, after which I told myself, "Never again." And yet here I am... again... doing this by choice.
As I meditate on the impact that illness has had on my life, I realize I'm a better, more grateful woman today because of cancer. I was asleep at the wheel before cancer shook me awake. And though there's still no cure, I continue to live harmoniously with cancer.
A cancer diagnosis doesn't just happen to you. It also happens to your family, friends and community. People who were directly or indirectly impacted by my illness sought to identify their roles in my treatment, to figure out what they could contribute to the experience.
Sometimes, cancer would stroll next to me, repeatedly kicking me, punching me, making me fall.I fell down a lot. Sometimes it was more like tripping over my feet. Sometimes I didn't know how to get up. Everyone I know who has gone through cancer has felt this.
This social network allows teens with cancer to join other cancer patients who are the same age and begin to find that sense of normalcy again. Through this online group they won't feel isolated or different, and they will be able to talk to other kids about something they enjoy -- video games.
You might wonder why I've decided to write, rather than just curse you in silence. Writing to you certainly won't make my Valentine better. But there's a small chance it might resonate with someone noticing a change in his own body and convince him to bring his concerns to his doctor.
Our collective global health work is not done; it is evolving, as it should, to bring new attention to the different burdens of disease in the parts of the world where all of us have a stake in reducing poverty, increasing productivity, saving lives and securing communities and societies.
Cancer can take your strength, or your leg, or your breast, or your hope. It can also take your soul if you let it. Do whatever you have to do to keep that from happening. Get up... again, and again, and again.
Opportunities are being missed, and time and money are being wasted. We all know people who are struggling with cancer and the intense challenges of the current treatment protocols. The needs are urgent and the time to act is now.
While individual health care decisions in the wake of a cancer diagnosis belong to the patient, there are some questions that my mother asked -- or didn't know to ask until things went awry -- that may be helpful for others to keep in mind when chemotherapy is presented as an option.
Researchers found that nearly one-third of reports on large, randomized studies over-emphasize some benefits of therapy. In the majority of reports evaluated, the investigators found insufficient attention or discussion of treatment side effects.