Pierre Dybman (dybmapi) wrote,
Pierre Dybman

Breaking good, a moment of reflection

As this blog, and its mirror version on blogger.com, which can be viewed here: http://dybmapi.blogspot.be, are about to reach a combined number of views of 1000, it's time to reflect a bit on the "thrill of it all", as Roxy Music's frontman Bryan Ferry once wrote.

As, for the time being, the news are quite good, and can be summed up this way:

- physical tonus is coming back
- daily exercise is useful, even in mild doses
- basic metrics are returning to pre-illness levels (blood pressure, pulse)
- next blood test on Monday will show how much subjective feeling is close to objective measurements

this give s little time to think about the whole experience and write more substantially, as there's no point in describing every day the same basic and unchanging information.

First of all, the shock of getting the diagnosis is real. Cancer has deserved its bad reputation, and while no two cancer sufferers are alike, there are also many types of cancers (lungs, throat, liver, brain, skin, colon, prostate, breasts...) with different treatment possibilities and survival rates.

Which means, don't succumb to panic! Get as much data as possible, even on a given cancer, very specific, there are different variants, which improve (or not) the prospects. In my case, the analysis of the surgical piece showed that it was a "low grade" tumour, that is a slow growing one. Makes a huge difference, and in case of early detection, that can make all the difference between stage 1, 2, 3 or 4, the latter being the bad guy here.
Furthermore, the genetic analysis of the cancerous cells show in my case that there haven't been any genetic mutations, which means that classical protocols should work well on the tumour(s), and that there are a number of second or third level treatments available.

Regular check-ups (preventive medicine is the first line of defence before curative medicine) will go a long way into avoiding the development of cancers, and in case one is detected, a thorough analysis should detect agressive forms of cancers from more treatable forms.

Check if possible with friends, relatives that are in the medical profession, if you're not convinced by the first source, don't hesitate to ask for a second opinion, but be aware that, once the illness is declared, time is of an essence.

Once treatment has started, a number of new issues will crop up.

One is the availability of paid medical leave. This differs very much from country to country, and within a country it will depend on your status. usually, civil servants will have the highest protection, then workers from large corporations with generous social packages. The worst off are shop-owners and liberal professions (consultants, architects, medical professions...) that depend on their own working time to generate fees and revenue. All the time spent in hospitals and basic treatments is non-billable time, and depending on the side-effects, they may not be able to work for months.

This is why it's important to have, and to keep, a strong social network. No, not on the internet, although that does also help, i'm thinking of family, friends, co-workers etc in real life (IRL).

Simpe tasks like changing a plaster while waiting for a cut to heal often involves another person, and who can do that better than your other half? Or brother, sister, father or mother, depending on your age?

It's important also to go out, breathe fresh air, meet people, as much as your situation allows you to.

This is an important step, you have to assert yourself in the sense that you are not defined by your illness, you are defined by your personality, and your personality grows according to how you deal with your illness, and recovery.

In turn, this personality, while truly yours, has been built around, and sometimes against, parents and siblings.

To conclude, i will dedicate this wonderful Cranberries song to all parents:

Tags: cancer, curing, dealing, parents
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