Having cancer teaches you about cancer. You have no choice.
When I began, I had no idea what ‘cancer’ actually meant. Here’s what Wikipedia says:
Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.
I like that explanation. Cancer isn’t a disease as much as different diseases that share a single deadly trait. When healthy cells split, if they reach another cell, they stop. Not so with cancer. Cancer cells keep dividing, taking space normally reserved for vital bodily organs and functions.
That’s why every cancer needs a different cure and why different cancers act differently.
Some cancers are more easily detected through tests or exams. Some like my pancreatic cancer are seldom found until it’s too late.
Lots of cancers are treated with chemotherapy. Usually, not always, that’s a liquid dripped directly into the bloodstream. I’ve taken chemo pills too.
From the National Cancer Institute:
Chemotherapy: Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.
Different cancers need different chemo drugs. The goal, stop the cancerous cells from spreading. Sounds easy enough. Turns out it’s really hard.
Chemo is targeted, but this is not precision bombing. Chemotherapy takes out good cells with the bad. It’s poison with a therapeutic purpose.
After chemo my blood sugar is up, my white and red counts and blood platelets are down. Because I’m prone to infection I take another drug, Neulasta, after chemo.
There are steroids in my body tonight. As they wear off I’ll wear out and spend a good part of the weekend sleeping while my body feverishly works at replacing the good cells that got zapped. This is a priority set by my body. I have no say in it.
The aftermath of chemo sucks, but it’s not so bad I can’t deal with it. Nothing I’ve been through has been more than I can take. Not even close. And I’m not special in the ‘suck it up’ department. Anyone can do this if you have the right attitude.
Look at cancer treatment in the aggregate and it looks horrible. But you don’t live it that way. You live it in real time and that’s much easier. Think bite size chunks.
Pancreatic cancer will soon be cured. Lots of other cancers too. It will be amazing. It will be expensive.
How much is living worth? To me it’s priceless.
7 thoughts on “I Had No Idea What Cancer Really Meant Until I Got It”
I so agree with everything you said Geoff! It’s all in the attitude! I’ve been going thru it for3 years now and people tell me they can’t believe how positive I am. I tell them you have to be in order to get thru it! Cancer sucks and chemo sucks! I live my life the best I can and won’t ever give up! Some day they will find a cure!
Geoff, I know what the chemo can do to a person even though it could save a life. But for me, I would have to have a very good reason to go through that again. Luckily as far as the breast cancer that I had, I am now totally cancer free, thank God!
Thanks for the lesson, I did not know about any of what you wrote. Thanks again, and keep up the positive thinking and you will be another person to beat cancer!
Thank you Geoff I needed that affirmation! I’m on a 3 week hiatus to strengthen my body before I continue my treatment. I believe I will beat this beast once again – with the prayers and support of my family and friends. One precious day at a time. I look forward to your posts and pictures of beautiful California, Doppler and the hummingbirds! We will prevail ❤️.
I’ve enjoyed following your journey. I hope you have a restful Memorial Day weekend.
Thanks for educating so many of us throughout your incredible journey.
God bless you my friend.
Thanks Geoff. You did a great job explaining the treatment. I had chemo and radiation. And many test! I am one of the survivors. Feel like an expert from all the information I was given to read after being diagnosed.
Not an easy process, but attitude is the key and believing in your doctors. The doctors always kept me informed about what they were doing and what to expect. I had a great team at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. Thanks to them I am 10 years cancer free.
I hope the same for you.
Wonderful insight you gave Geoff, thank you. xxoo