It's Not All Pretty Ribbons
I wish all peace and strength to both Daria and Don.
Daria is one of those people who I've never met, but whose bad news breaks my heart. Once again, I find myself with tears streaming down my face as I write about someone I only know through the internet. I read Daria's blog regularly. I appreciate that she dedicated herself to writing every day about what life is like with metastatic cancer.
So often, metastatic survivors are forgotten in all the survivor hype. In order to give hope to the many with cancer, sometimes those for whom cancer is not just a temporary setback feel ignored. They are not the cancer success stories; they are what we all fear. For any of you who missed it, there is a great article in the New York Times this week about life with mets, "A Pink Ribbon Race, Years Long."
There have been great improvements in detection, treatment, but especially in quality of life for survivors of all types of cancer. Through advocacy and awareness campaigns, many more people feel more capable of fighting their disease.
But the sad fact is that sometimes cancer comes back. All the feel good programs and empowerment don't change the fact that cancer, any type of cancer, is a terrible disease. The races and ribbons don't change that.
Yes, those of us who survive may find ourselves stronger. We may find new meaning in our lives. We may just be happy to not be dead. We are grateful for our health when it is good, and suffer when we hear of another in our community who is not so lucky. But we all lose something along the way.
I fear that some may find this all very negative. There is sometimes pressure to keep a positive attitude about cancer. The pressure comes from our loved ones as well as from some in the cancer community.
I do believe in focusing on what is positive and hopeful, but do not deny reality in the process. And the reality is that cancer is a terrible disease. It destroys lives. Cancer - all forms - still needs so much more advocacy, awareness, and, above all, research.
Cancer is not just a pretty ribbon; it's lives.
- BY Julie | 01.20.2011
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