I was lucky to be included in an article by Tonic at Vice re what TV and Movies get wrong about Cancer. See screenshot below (link to article is here - tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/wjj8qy/tv-and-movies-get-cancer-all-wrong:
When I was diagnosed, I would notice more about other cancer stories in the media and news. I do not watch much tv or movies and I have made a conscious effort to avoid reading books that include someone with cancer in them because 90% of the time, that is the character that dies tragically - which I wrote about here --> stress-reducing-pastimes.html
This is just it - there is no one way to have cancer. It is a myriad, tricky and challenging disease that impacts each person differently. During my treatment, I saw a Facebook post in memorial to someone who had died from breast cancer and it triggered me to such an extent that I disabled my account immediately. I have now realized that every person has the disease differently and can now digest news without going into a tailspin about my own imminent demise.
There are still triggers - it is not like life is rainbows and unicorns when you are diagnosed with breast cancer. It is not. I do appreciate my life in a different way now and have the ability to live it without being knocked down with chemotherapy and radiation. The treatments for the disease can be harsher than how you felt walking around with it in your body - in fact, prior to diagnosis, I felt the best I have ever felt in many many years. I was working full time after years of only being able to handle part time work due to my obligations at home with my young children and husband's issues - all of a sudden, I was working full time each day and doing stuff on the weekends with the kids and it was like wow, I am really doing this. Then the cancer diagnosis.
It was shocking and yet you do not have time to let it sink in - I mean, you might need to take time because of health insurance or other issues but for me it was just let's hit the ground running and get this out as soon as possible. I was told incorrectly that the major NYC hospitals would take forever to take the cancer out of me. From first appointment to mastectomy it was 11 days. Just 11 days and it would have been even quicker if only my dense breasts had shown the truth right away instead of requiring a MRI and a PetScan.
For those of you out there who have not been touched by cancer yet in your inner circle (may it stay that way but keep in mind that I recently read that for those born after 1960, there is a 50% chance of a cancer diagnosis) just know that there are many different types of cancer and many different reactions to cancer by those diagnosed. It is hard for us but I know from experience it is even hard for friends and family - some of them knew exactly what to do from day one and others either hid away or made some gaffes -- I preferred the gaffes over those who made themselves scarce.
Do not be afraid to ask questions about the disease - do not think I am unable to process the information. I know as much as I can know about my disease, my pathology and even my "statistics". Statistics though, someone once said, are nothing but lies and damned lies. It is not something anyone can control.
Do not let your understanding of cancer come from tv or movies or even the news. I read articles about how so and so "beat cancer" after being diagnosed a few months earlier. Although they very well might have "beat" it, no doctor will call you done with cancer until years have passed post diagnosis depending on the disease, where it was, etc etc.
We who have the disease know this about cancer - it is insidious and it hides. Once it is in your body, you must do all you can to get it out. That is why I decided to start eating clean and amp up my exercise regiment and also to just practice calmness in any way that I can. As someone who sweated bullets during my pregnancies and just could not wait to give birth, I am now enjoying this time between and waiting to hear that one day, maybe, I will be called "cured" and until that day, I am just going to enjoy my life and accept the fact that breast cancer was in me and pray that it is gone for good.
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