Good reflections on what ‘cure’ means from both the patient and medical perspective, and the realization that good health is relative, not absolute, for people living with cancer (and other chronic conditions). Quote:
I’ve learned that compromise is not same as giving in or giving up. Though the periods between treatments have not signified a cure, they’ve given me time to continue growing and changing, and I’ve made the most of it.
I’ve learned that fear, and my fright about feeling fear, were preventing me from making peace with the facts of my “new” life. I remember waking up one morning and feeling absolute terror, because the lump in my abdomen was making it more difficult for me to take a deep breath. All the worst thoughts came crowding in–and yet, only a short while later, the fear had passed and I was making breakfast. A few such experiences have taught me that even terror will pass, and that the thoughts it inspires are no more “true” than my other thoughts; they only seem that way.
via I do not require perfect health to be happy.
via I do not require perfect health to be happy.
Some vignettes from the American Cancer Society’s Picture Your Life in Cancer book. Many of the messages are familiar, and a nice way to personalize what it means to be living with cancer. Quote:
Indeed, a common theme of the “Picture Your Life” project is that cancer spurs people to take long-delayed trips, seek out adventure and spend time with their families. Photos of mountain climbs, a ride on a camel, scuba diving excursions and bicycle trips are now part of the online collage.
New Meaning and Drive in Life After Cancer – NYTimes.com.
Some additional evidence of the benefits of exercise, this time in strengthening the immune system, particularly T-cells. While I am not sure whether exercise can prevent recurrence of cancer (certainly wasn’t in my case), it does help with general recovery and health, and any increased immunity will help fight normal, run-of-the-mill diseases. Quote:
She [Laura Bilek] adds that this finding highlights the importance of exercise for all, including those with cancer and cancer survivors. These two populations might benefit especially from the heightened “cancer surveillance”—the ability of the immune system to seek out and destroy budding cancers—that this study suggests exercise brings, Bilek explains.
“There’s a litany of positive benefits from exercise,” Bilek says. “If exercise indeed strengthens the immune system and potentially improves cancer surveillance, it’s one more thing we should educate patients about as a reason they should schedule regular activity throughout their day and make it a priority in their lives.”
Exercise Could Fortify Immune System Against Future Cancers.
Not surprising, there is a longer-term cost to aggressive treatments like allogeneic stem cell transplants. But without them, we would be dead, so a reasonable trade-off. Quote:
Overall, the presence of hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia was significantly higher among hematopoietic cell transplant HCT recipients compared with the general population, according to Saro H. Armenian, DO, MPH, of City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., and colleagues.
Importantly, those who received hematopoietic cells from a donor had a greater risk of developing these cardiovascular risk factors compared with autologous cells transplant recipients, researchers reported online in Blood: Journal of the American Society of Hematology.
The authors pointed to two factors that could increase the cardiovascular risk in these patients:
- Pre-transplant chemotherapy and radiation
- Treatment for the transplant complication of graft-versus-host disease GVHD
Stem Cell Transplants Come Back to Haunt.
One of the rare articles on cancer patients and neuropathy (numbness in the extremities). One of the side effects on intensive or aggressive treatments.
I am lucky in that my neuropathy is mild and does not impede my activities and is without pain, others are not so lucky
Helping cancer survivors fight neuropathy.
Good piece on chronic pain and how this often falls between the cracks after cancer treatment (I have been very fortunate in that regard). Quote:
In the case of chronic pain, one thing is clear: Adding assessments to a checklist of vital signs and mandating more physician education aren’t enough.
“Pain is all about the doctor-patient relationship and taking the whole person into account,” Dr. Fisch said. “Those things are not quick fixes.”
Poor Pain Control for Cancer Patients – NYTimes.com.
While I prefer the more profound reflections of Christopher Hitchens than this chatty style, it reflects one person’s coming to terms with the need for change in lifestyle and priorities. Quote:
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I suppose they are right. My oncologist expects me to be fine. I took this photo of myself waiting for him the other day because I was bored. After we talked, I got an IV antibody treatment that I’ll be getting for the next six months. While I was sitting there, the guy I call the “cancer shrink” came in and talked to me. I told him that my anxiety is like a black blob of a monster that lives in a room in my head. I wanted to know if I stopped feeding it, would it get bigger or would it go away? He reminded me that the monster is also my friend. It made me braver, and stronger, and because of it I can go figure out who else I am.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You More Creative – Forbes.