Friday, April 24, 2009

Just thought I'd drop in...

Yes, I know, I am technically supposed to be finished with this blog. But I have come to realize that even though the majority of my treatment has ended, cancer is still everywhere in my life. This morning, for example, I opened up the New York Times website, and this was the story that greeted me:
Advances Elusive in the Long Drive to Cure Cancer
I was very impressed with this story. It is honest without being insensitive. Kolata's story echoes what I heard last year at the CALGB conference I spoke at, that foundations and researches are wary of spending money on radical new trials, and progress is being made only incrementally. I had never really thought about, as well, her point that cancer rhetoric focuses on "cures," and "survival rates" and such. It makes sense from both sides though. Of course we focus on the positive aspects of cancer. No one wants to think about dying, and I'm sure no pharmaceutical companies want to advertise their drugs as "only possibly adding a few more months onto your already truncated life." That's just a downer. And yet, it is all a bit delusional, especially the curing cancer pledge. Even I, who had one of the supposedly "curable" cancers, don't believe a cure is possible.

On the other hand, that in no way means we should stop fighting. Last weekend I drove up to Boston for Boston University's first ever Relay for Life. I think eight or nine hundred people showed up, and we raised near $80,000 for the American Cancer Society. The whole premise of Relay is that people spend 12 or 18 hours walking around a track in recognition of the fact that cancer never sleeps. By the end of the weekend, after the all-night event, catching up with my friends, and two eight-hour bus rides to and from Boston, I was exhausted and sick. But I am so glad that I went. It was amazing to me to see so many people all gathered together in support of a single cause. We all want to keep this fight against cancer going.

Like I said, I don't think there is a cure, but there are certainly improvements to be made. If the slightly misleading rhetoric means that more people will change their lifestyles, that's great, but we need to be brave enough to face the reality of death as well. I guess I just hope that we don't lose hope but that we don't get ahead of ourselves either.

And that's my bit. Incidentally, I am healthy and still tumor-free. Follow-up for me now consists of scans and doctor's appointments every three to four months, gradually every six months, then every year or so for however long my doctor feels comfortable. ALSO. Today, TODAY! was my last day of class/work/college. The DC program finished today, which means that I am finished with college. In four years. Who woulda thunk it.