October Cancer Awareness
Last October I began my monthly posts about cancer awareness. When I sat down to write this month’s entry, I decided that for the next year I would do something different. If you want to read about October being Breast and Liver Awareness Month, click on the link here and it will take you to the post from last year. Or you can click on the archives for October 2015 and it will take you there as well. For the next year, I am going to highlight different cancer organizations that are making great strides in research and how you might help if you are interested. Look for those in the middle of the each month.
I have been working in the cancer field for the last five years and during that time, I have observed things that have filled me with hope and others that have made me sad. I decided to share some of them here:
Cancer does not care if you have been a vegetarian, eaten only organic since birth or exercise everyday. I have seen patients that have lived a healthy lifestyle every day of their life and yet when it comes to cancer, they are fighting just as hard as someone less healthy.
Attitude truly seems to make a difference. I have seen patients that have the most positive, happy attitude deal with their treatment in such a way that they inspire others. To them, this is just another hill to climb. And they seem to make it through with a smile and a hug and they just don’t let it bring them down.
I have heard patients say that they threw away their cancer medication that costs upwards of $150,000 because they don’t want to get treatment anymore, while other patients struggle to come up with money to cover their co-payments for their medication. Often deciding against a certain medication because they just can’t afford it.
I’ve heard of patients who ask the doctor for more pain medication, despite being given a 30 day supply just a few days before, because their grown child or grandchildren have stolen their pain medication. I’ve witnessed a 50 year old son scream at a doctor who wouldn’t prescribe more medication for his mother after he had taken hers and either used it himself or sold it. As for the patients, they deny everything because they don’t want to get their family member in trouble.
I’ve seen insurance companies deny treatment because the plan “isn’t a cure for cancer.” Newsflash, there isn’t a cure for cancer. I’ve watched my doctors argue with the insurance doctors to get authorization and it seems that it is just a big game to the companies. I’ve watched U.S. Veterans wait weeks for the Department of Veterans Affairs to approve their tests or treatment.
But I’ve also seen amazing results in patients who come back for their follow-ups and tell us how wonderful they feel or show off their hair after it has grown back. There are those who bring back vacation pictures to share with us after they had told us during their treatment that once done they were taking the trip they always dreamed of.
And there are those patients who truly are an inspiration, who talk to other patients and help them along their journey despite what they are going through themselves. Should I ever get the diagnosis of cancer I hope that I can be as brave as they are.