Cancer is Cancer
There is so much disparity between cancer groups. Of course, lung cancer is the most underfunded. But, when you think about the patient as a human being, and not as a number, cancer sucks. We are all traveling the same road, some of us have fewer bumps in the road while others need new shocks. It's not easy for anyone. I always advocate for more lung cancer research because it is the largest cancer killer of both men and women. It's usually not caught until stage 4. And the stigma drives me absolutely crazy.
Everyone's story is their own
But, I've learned, this is where I stop with the stigma talk. Mainly because I don't want this article pulling up and associating the stigma of lung cancer. All you need is a pair of lungs, maybe even just one, to get this disease. And yes, it is a beast. But, all cancer patients are fighting for their lives. They didn't sign up for this. Yes, mine may be the deadliest, but my quality of life hasn't been so bad.
Whereas, I have friends with breast cancer who look and feel as if they've been to hell and back. I'm not naive, I know I may one day get to that point. As of now, I haven't, and I pray so hard for those who have.
The trauma of cancer
We are not in a fight we can possibly win. If we manage to get the cancer under control, what has it done to us mentally and physically? We will always be looking over our shoulder, waiting for the return. Every ache and pain will make us feel as though it's back and we immediately seek medical attention. We end up paying for procedures and tests that we felt we needed because we all have one thing in common when surviving. We have PTSD and will for the rest of our lives.
Many people associate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with veterans and victims of crime. The true definition of PTSD is as follows: "a condition of persistent and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world". If that definition doesn't describe cancer patients, I'm not sure what can.
As I'm in the midst of writing this article, another one of my lung cancer friends passed away. Literally, as I was typing the definition of PTSD. So that begs the question, who is next? Who is among us will leave by this deadly disease? I once read that cancer never wins. When you die, so does the cancer that was in your body. To me, that sounds like a victory. I will get to live an eternal life in heaven, without lung cancer. My friend, who literally passed away as I was typing this is one of the 433 people that will die today from Lung Cancer. The struggle is real for any cancer patient, it's hard and nasty, but if you can pull through...you still have to deal with the PTSD.
Quality of life over quantity of life
I'm sure these are cards none of us ever expected to be dealt. What happened to the white fence and family of four with the pet dog Lassie? It's not real. The cookie cutter life was not made for all of us, and not all of us were made for the cookie cutter life. But deep down inside all of us is an inherent will to survive regardless of the circumstances. We do it for our loved ones and even ourselves. Cancer is cancer, it never truly goes away until you leave this earth. So, don't discount others with a better survival rate. Quantity of life may not always be better than quality of life.
Are you satisfied with your care team?