Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

A Comment To Stand Alone

letter

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a special “open” letter written by a fellow Hodgkin’s survivor.  It was written to hopefully inspire those in oncology to recognize and deal with some of the emotional needs of cancer patients.

I am always willing to allow comments to go through on posts, but there was one post, that received a comment that I did not share, until now.  I did not want to the comment to take away from what the intent of the post was trying to get across.  But that does not mean that the author of the comment did not have a point.  I have edited the comment slightly for my own reasons, but here is the bulk of the comment:

“Traumatized by her first encounter with the commercially-motivated sick care system, she reacts. That is nice.. BUT, the far bigger issue is missed here.. The methods applied with her, “Chemo”, is NOT what she THINKS it is. Far from being “a therapy”, it causes much more premature deaths, destruction of immune systems AND “implants” highly carcinogenic elements within her body, so her prognosis is, let’s say, unfavorable. Oncologists fail to inform patients of the long term risks, and if you care to read them, on the Oncology sites, they “hide” this very crucial one at the bottom, since they know most people get tired of reading anyhow, so there it is- http://www.cancer.net/survivorship/long-term-side-effects-cancer-treatmentPlease READ carefully, all the way down , where they hide the fact, it causes more new cancers.. called “secondary cancers”.
Oncologists are ANGELS. The only question left to answer is weather one wishes to meet the angels before his/her time..”

I have not disclosed the author of the comment until I receive permission.  But the author does make a valid argument, and from the tone that it was written, perhaps a personal one.

I have seen enough in my 25 years, to know that not all cancer stories have happy endings, and yes, many continue on as nightmares.  But compared to the decades ago, when most of us were only aware of cancer’s automatic death sentence, there are many more success stories than unfortunate tragic endings.  In just the past two years, I have lost more than five close friends and family due to either cancer or complications from the treatments, short term and long term.

All the more reason, we need attention brought forward, we still need better and safer treatments.  I am currently looking for my original treatment sheets from 27 years ago, but I know what I read way back then “risk of pericarditis and secondary cancer such as leukemia.”  That is all I was told.  Back then, that is all they knew.  But they missed that mark by a ton (I discuss all my issues on this blog).  And just recently, a very close friend of mine is grieving for the loss of her sibling, succumbing to complications caused by treatments received decades ago.

No, medicine is not perfect, and neither is how we treat cancer.  But for now, we have to accept that what has been scientifically proven to work, and better than the alternative for the most part, and fight with all we have.  There are alternative and complimentary treatments as well, but while they may be safer with side effects, they do not have the scientific backing.  I want to make it perfectly clear, I am not pro “big Pharm”.  But having been in the world of cancer half of my life, I have seen the progress.

It is my hope that some day, and soon, we can finally have the better surveillance to discover the brutal and tragic side effects that sometimes occur.  One battle is enough for someone to face.

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