September 23, 2009

debunking the cancer myths

you should know is that cancer is a lot scarier when you don't have it. it sounds totally crazy, but the things we're most afraid of are things we don't understand. once you have cancer, you are forced to accept it into your reality and you can choose to continue living or shy away in fear. one of the most empowering things i've been able to do throughout the last two months is get as much information about my cancer experience as i can. i ask a million questions (sometimes so many i feel bad for the people doing my scans and tests). i'll never be an expert, but i could teach you a few things about hodgkin's...and most of them wouldn't scare you.

in the spirit of fighting fear with fact, let's bust some rumors...

MYTH = everyone with cancer dies
actually, that's true. what isn't true is that everyone with cancer will die from cancer. in fact, according to less than valid internet statistics, it seems that over fifty percent of people with cancer don't die from it. it would be unlikely for me to die from this cancer - i don't try to pretend it's not possible, but if i focused on it, i'd be fearing something that's not likely to happen, like fearing an attack of killer bees. it's possible. anything is.

MYTH = if you have cancer, you are sick
i hate this one. i have cancer...and i'm quite healthy. i just happen to have a large collection of cells in my chest that don't do what they're supposed to. chemotherapy is likely to make me a little less than healthy, but that's because they have to blast my entire body to get rid of this one collection of cells. really uncool. totally necessary.

MYTH = you will catch cancer
only if i sneeze directly on you. seriously. if you think this, i will judge you a little.

MYTH = you can prevent cancer
this one is a little sad, and i feel a little like debbie downer. there are a lot of things you can control...cancer, you cannot. you can avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet, live an active lifestyle, take your vitamins and spin around three times to the left every time you walk through a door, but there are some things we can't control. enjoy life, and control the things you can...everything else will work out like it's supposed to.

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