Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Not only, but also

I've just read on Facebook a post from someone I know who was told her cancer would kill her and in the not too distant future - in other words to use the phrase that is bandied about far to freely these days: terminal cancer.

Refusing to accept the terminal bit, she begged the oncologists to give her as much treatment as her body could stand. She's had countless rounds of chemo, three occasions of surgery, some radiotherapy; other treatments too numerous to mention and is about to start imunotherapy to be sure to be sure.  Today she posted that her onologist has told her that she is cured unless proved otherwise!

We must never say "terminal" - it's a ridiculous word given that we are all "terminal" from the moment we're born.  In my experience there are two types of people: those who when told their cancer is terminal surrender themselves to the arms of the oncologists without questioning, without querying, without learning, without taking responsibility; basically without hope.  Then there are the others, like this friend of mine, who regard the news as a personal challenge, a mountain to be climbed, a project to be carried out, an education to be acquired and a life to be regained.  No prizes for guessing who survives.

So, would it just not be sensible, instead of focusing on a worst case, to deluge newly diagnosed patients with tales of all those who have successfully conquered their afflictions and lived to tell the tale?  Methinks outcome statistics could be greatly improved by just that culture change.

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