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.
Next month, my husband and I will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary. It really is hard to believe that we have been married for that long. Looking through the pictures that my husband has been scanning lately, we looked so young back then. When we first planned to marry, the Army decided that my husband would be deployed when we wanted to get married, so we went to the Justice of the Peace and were married at the courthouse. It was a Friday and on Monday, when my husband went to work, he learned the deployment was canceled, so we were married again three months later in the church, but we celebrate the August date.
We didn’t have a honeymoon. We couldn’t afford it back then and we talked about someday going somewhere to celebrate. Before long, years passed and while we have gone on vacations, we still never had what would be considered a honeymoon. When we moved to the east coast, we talked about going to Vermont in the fall for our 25th, but when my husband started his new job last year, he had to start earning vacation time all over. We didn’t want to take a whole week to go somewhere so I was tasked with trying to find somewhere close by that we could go to for a long weekend. Many people have talked about going to the Poconos, but they also say that it was years ago and they weren’t sure if the places they visited were still nice. One day, while visiting one of the blogs that I read, Mistress Maddie was discussing her recent Memorial Day getaway with a side stop to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. She included several photos and the one from the veranda of the Harry Packer Mansion with a view of the mountain side covered in trees totally caught my interest. I kept looking at the picture and thinking that the view must be incredible in the fall.
I began to research the town and learned that they have a fall festival every weekend starting in September and all through October. They also have fall foliage train rides which is something that we also want to do. I sent some links to my husband to get his input and researched places to stay. While the mansion is booked up, we were able to find a little bed and breakfast in town that had an opening for when we could take leave. We are booked and planning our stay. I have started my packing list…yes, I know it’s early, but can you tell that I’m excited?
So thank you Mistress Maddie for being such a wonderful tour guide in your descriptions of your travels. You inspired us with a place to visit. While our trip won’t be as wild as yours are 😉 we are thankful that you helped us decide where we wanted to go and we will have a cock-a-tail in your honor as we relax and take in the view.