Cancer as a verb not as a noun?

I know it has been a little while since my last post. Round 10 was quite challenging but I know that my emotions had something to do with it. All our company left our house, it was still the Holidays, and many of our friends had left to go … skiing…. I was bummed… My husband thought that maybe I was losing motivation but I assured him that it was not the case. I had just received extraordinary results and I know that I am doing much better than expected but the future is still uncertain. I am not good with not knowing, I am a planner… I am thrilled to be where I am at and that my body is responding so well but I feel like I just ran a marathon and wished that I could now rest but no, maintenance chemo is to start as soon as I am done. Of course I understand why and I don’t want to give any cancer cell the chance to proliferate. Chemo is not fun in the park. I always said though that chemo will be like my “insulin” and if my body needs it to ward off any cancer cells, what choice do I have?

Round 11 has been so far better, and now I can focus on the fact that I only have one more round on the “big guns” chemo and my doctor is telling me that my quality of life will be much improved. We will need to wait for the results from my next PET scan to decide if any procedure or surgery is needed, because of insurance issues, I won’t be able to get the scan until the very end of February. So no formal plans until then…  I was so eager to know what has been going on in the liver and I was able to get an MRI scheduled for next week. I am now suffering from “scanxiety” as my fellow fighters like to call it. This is incredibly stressful. It is easy to say “don’t think about it” but when your life depends on it, really are you not going to think about it? Distractions are good and thank god for online shopping and Netflix! lol!

I read an article by Dr. David Agus this week. He is a well renowned oncologist who treated Steve Jobs and other celebrities. He is also very involved in research on new treatments for cancer. In his book “The End of Illness”, he offers a new way to think about cancer, he suggests that it is not something the body has but something the body does. He proposes that cancer is not a noun but a verb as in we need to stop our bodies from “cancering”. It’s an interesting concept… He just came out with another book called “Short Guide to a Long Life” with 65 rules to achieve better health. I have not read the book, but from the excerpts, most of it seems to make sense although I don’t agree with everything (for example, he advises against taking vitamins/supplements and against juicing). The idea that maybe we are contributing to our cancer is something I am struggling with on many different levels. I am still racking my brain to figure out why I ended up with this advanced cancer. I know I have said it many times before but there was nothing about my life I would have changed and my childhood is trauma free. Sometimes I wonder if I just didn’t stop enough to smell the roses… If I was just too focused on career and kids that I didn’t take the time to appreciate all the beauty around me, that I took life and health for granted – is this what this cancer is teaching me or there is another deeper reason why I was given this disease? I know I have always been strong, I have done a lot of things in my life that others haven’t and I had finally reached the point where I was content with all my achievements. I remember though sitting in my boss’s office a few months before my diagnosis and me telling him that I was “ready for my next challenge” (work wise of course!). We both laughed when I got this diagnosis because we both knew that this is not what I was referring to! but somehow this is the challenge I was given and just like any other challenge in my life I chose to take charge and do everything in my power to overcome it. My all time favorite job was working at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, doing both research and clinical work, yes I miss it but again as I have said before, it is not eating me up. Life is full of sacrifices and compromises, I love the weather here in Florida, the pace of living, having the beach so close, it is such an “easy” place to raise our boys. I don’t regret living here but sometimes wishes there was more for me career wise. Dr. Agus, could this really cause my body “to cancer” because I was otherwise pretty healthy??? I agree we need to help our bodies stay healthy by eating well, exercising, staying in tune with our bodies, taking the time to relax and all. But I am not convinced that cancer is a verb, I have seen some of the healthiest people I know receive this diagnosis… Whether or not it is a verb, I am still working on finding my meaning, the life lesson I am being taught through this journey… It will come, I know it will.



One thought on “Cancer as a verb not as a noun?

  1. Very interesting writing, thank you for sharing. Like you I often search for what I might need to learn; “lessons” that I need or should have learned. Like you I have learned many, yet I always remind myself that I don’t believe children give themselves Cancer. (So this can’t be true). But there are those that think they are given cancer to teach their loved ones the answers to learn their lessons. It becomes very circular sometimes and so I just put it away for the time being and move on, only to get it back out and look at it again. I’m happy for you that your nearing the end of one chapter and I truly hope/pray your next scan is clear. Thank you again for the post.

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