I have doctors. Lots of them. I should really say "health care professionals," because not everyone whose is helping me deal with this is an M.D. All of them, however, are what I've decided to call "Team Stan."
Like Walt in Breaking Bad, I have health care insurance from my employer, and like Walt's wife, Skyler, discovers about their insurance, I'm still liable for the deductible, copay and coinsurance portion of the medical fees.
When on cycle two, day two, I told my nurse she was joining my angels here on earth, she told me that one of her previous patients had claimed coming into the infusion room was like going to hell -- now I have a Hell's Angel by my side.
In the first weeks of treatment, I had few side effects apart from fatigue. I thought perhaps I had dodged a bullet and would skate through without much discomfort. It would be clear in the coming weeks just what a tough battle this would be, and the best weight for me was my fighting weight.
Integrative cancer care does not only include medical visits and treatments. In combination with necessary conventional cancer treatments and other integrative therapies addressing the entire body, cancer patients need to use self-care daily.
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.
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.
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.
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.