Bugged by Lung Cancer?

Bugged by Lung Cancer?

For the past several weeks, I have been focused intently on insects. They have invaded my space as well as my thoughts. Combine that with my ongoing passion for lung cancer and I find myself comparing bugs with lung cancer. So when I read LungCancet.net’s question: “If you could describe lung cancer as an animal, which animal would it be?” I decided to share my thoughts…not about an animal, but about bugs.

Invading my space, as well as my thoughts

As much as I love summer, there is one thing about it that I detest: bugs. I like butterflies, of course. Ladybugs aren’t bad, unless you get a heavy infestation. But I hate ants, mosquitoes, flies, fleas, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets.

I have an old house that I am fixing up to use as an office for my nonprofit and meeting place for our lung cancer support group. I just named it Hope House. I also plan to use it as an Airbnb. The house, which is right behind the home where my husband and I have lived for the past 20 years, was built in 1927. Six years ago when I purchased it, the house was in foreclosure and had suffered a lot of neglect. I fixed it up some, but it still needs a lot of tender, loving care.

I have had to deal with all of the pests listed above at this property. First, it was a swarm of yellow jackets. I hired a professional to take care of them. Then carpenter ants moved in under the kitchen sink. My neighbor had a hornets nest in his tree but the bald-faced hornets like to come into my yard to forage for food. (I am terrified of them!) The property has an old pool that has been unused for years, maybe decades. Leaves gather on top of the pool covering and rain puddles provide breeding places for mosquitoes. About two and a half years ago, I noticed termites in an old stump next to the house. I called the professionals again. They treated the house for termites and advised me to keep the treatment under ongoing contract, which I did.

Recently, I decided to restore the old hardwood floors in the house. After removing the carpet, I discovered some of the rooms had linoleum tile from decades ago. So we chipped and scraped it up. As I was scraping one day, I uncovered a colony of termites eating the floor! It was a sight I wish I could unsee, but it haunted me night after night.

It’s all so creepy. So is cancer.

Lung cancer is like these invasive, destructive little creatures!

It costs a fortune to get rid of them and you never know if the invaders are gone for good…just like lung cancer.

As I considered the various types of lung cancer and the types of insects invading the house, I saw an analogy. The same company that took care of the yellow jackets, eliminated the carpenter ants. They also treated (then retreated) the termites. They use different chemicals, depending on which specific insect they are targeting, like doctors treating small cell lung cancer with one formula and treating someone with a specific mutation with a targeted therapy.

There also are various methods of dispersing these treatments—for people and insects. For termites, they drilled holes in the foundation and inserted chemicals. They also surrounded the property with bait stations to prevent further infestation.

Some insects are significantly more destructive than others, like termites and carpenter ants. I don’t even want to think about fire ants. (I got bit by a fire ant a few weeks ago when I was on a family vacation.) Similarly, some forms of lung cancer are much more deadly than others.
Insects attack our bodies and invade our homes. Cancer attacks our bodies and invades every aspect of our lives. We have professionals to handle the insects and the cancer. If only lung cancer treatment was as effective as the treatment for insects.

So what’s bugging you? If cancer were an insect, what type would yours be? What type of treatment did you have?

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