Art Therapy And Mindfulness Training Lower Stress In Breast Cancer Patients: Study

Great more money, time, and energy wasted on this non-sense. Before I got cancer, I believed in positive thinking, etc. But I am tired of this pseudo science. I have been through cancer treatment and dread recurrence. I AM STRESSED about that, and the fact that this stress might cause recurrence causes even more stress for me. Please read Barbara Ehreneich’s Bright Sided, first chapter, she lays it out much better. I refuse to believe stress caused my cancer or will cause it to come back. It is equivalent to blaming the patient. Spend money, time, and energy finding the real biological causes of cancer (hello, environmental pollution caused  by huge corporations that lobby our government to look the other way as they pollute the air?), and stop placing this unnecessary responsibility on the patients. We got enough on our plates, ya dig? 

My Eyes Are Up Here

I notice that I often unconsciously place my hand on the spot where my breast used to be. It’s sort of like a breast, at least more so than right after my mastectomy. As I’ve previously mentioned, there’s a calzone-shaped tissue expander in there right under my skin. I do it so often that I’ve begun to worry that I’ll be talking to one of my patients and suddenly find that I have put my hand under my bra without even realizing it.

I have to admit, it’s a pretty good hand warmer. Since I don’t go around topless, it’s well insulated by clothing. Plus, it’s located near the nuclear reactor part of my body, where the hot flashes seem to originate. And since the skin over the expander has no sensation, it is not unpleasant to touch it with an ice cube cold hand.

But mostly, I think…

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cancer in my thirties

So I spent Thursday night through Friday morning in the E.R. with one of my sons.  I was reluctant to go in, but his 106.2 degree fever and listlessness made it necessary.  Though no one likes the emergency room, I have a developed a particular and overwhelming distaste for the whole hospital scene.  And, sadly, this hospital overnight prompted me to realize how “jaded” I’ve become when it comes to the severity of symptoms and illnesses in general.  Call it another side effect of being a cancer patient.

What I am afraid to admit out loud — and even really hesitant to share in this, my somewhat anonymous blog, is that I am beginning to wonder if cancer is interfering with my ability to be the kind of parent and person I want to be (and the kind of parent/person I used to be).

While procedures and blood draws and…

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Too Quick to have Mastectomy?

Interesting tidbit on Huffpost. Here are the comments I sent to Huffpost in response:

There are several interesting aspects to this article. 1) It seems to imply that the either the medical industry is pushing women to get unnecessary procedures and/or women are not making informed decisions. While I appreciate the idea of a watchdog attitude toward the medical industry I worry the motivation behind it is to cut medical costs, but not for patients. 2) It keeps using “survival” as the only measuring stick. Yes, surviving is the best; but why not study risk of recurrence that does not end in death? Maybe women go for mastectomy to avoid not just dying, but going through the hell of cancer treatment again. 3) The last sentence, yes, it would be interesting to see if perhaps women want a sense of control (cancer robs one of that). After eating right, exercising, not drinking, and all the other crap, being a woman with breasts is still the biggest risk factor, why not eliminate it?  


What is it about breast cancer….

Love this, from another blog I follow on Tumblr. I “get” why other cancer patients get sick of the pink ribbon, but I hope these folks do not think just because I have “that special cancer” that I’m automatically pro-pink. There is a lot to be desired about pink October, and it just makes me sick to even see the ribbons most of the time. There is a lot of anger out there, I hope corporations that use the pink start to wake up before it bites everyone in the ass.

More unnecessary cancer hype

So found this on Huffington Post. People will see “unnecessary breast cancer treatment” and not make it to the third paragraph which states “(m)ammograms are still worthwhile,” as well as the rest of the article which essentially says science does not know how to determine which cancers will progress into a threat. So…why did the study not go ahead and figure out how to tell when a cancer needs to be treated or not? I mean is the current method, wait and see if it spreads around, wrecking women’s breasts, so more mastectomies can be done, or if patients die? But as offensively pointed out in this post, screening is “only worthwhile if it finds cancers destined to cause death”. I mean, WTF? I’m still alive (hurray!), but I’d rather not have had the cancer at all, if you don’t mind!

I’m not exactly a big fan of mammography, being someone who got a false negative on her very first mammogram. I cannot believe that a false alarm is as bad as cancer…at least there is relief at the end of a false alarm. I live with the fear and stress of recurrence everyday…and this is after the stress and fear of having and being treated for cancer.

And I just love the last paragraph-yes, science needs to better define what treatment is really needed, or better yet, better DEFINE PREVENTION, where is the funding for that!

Ramblings On That Word Awareness

Seeing the success of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so many other diseases are using the word “awareness” to bring attention to “their cause disease”. But the word is overused and has lost meaning.  My knee-jerk, smart ass response these days is, ”I can’t get any more aware, thank you”. In articles and online discussions I often see the comment when the NFL is wearing pink, or when you can buy pink kitchen appliances, or when you see (name random thing) pink, we’ve reached our awareness saturation point (in terms of breast cancer). I’m inclined to agree, especially since when the comment comes from someone with whom agree on the point of being sick of all things pink.

But maybe this view is wrong. Awareness may be at saturation point in the target audience for breast cancer cause marketing, which is middle class white women with the money to spend on any product with a little pink slathered on is. Are poor and non-white women being reached? I know that special education and outreach programs exist to remedy this, but I cannot see results beneath all the pink (and white). Unless the target audience can see themselves getting cancer, they will never really be “aware”. Where is the pinkification of products preferred by African-American women, by Latina women, or affordable to the poor?

Which leads to another, larger point—I was “aware” of the pinkness and assorted hoopla each October prior to my own diagnoses, but as someone under 40, I didn’t really see myself as the target…I did not see myself getting cancer. I was aware I could get it, aware of my risk factors, etc. I’m sure some would point out to me that awareness led me to get a mammogram that caught my cancer and saved my life, except in my case, that is not true (see my about page).

So I’m aware, you’re aware, she’s aware, he’s aware. Big whoop. What is being done about it? I modestly propose a change of focus and title for all these disease campaigns. Cancer is too complex for a cure, I get it, I read The Emperor of All Maladies. How about something like stop X cancer from killing people? Or better yet, dare I ask…Prevent ALL Cancer?