Last night I went to a Cancer Support Group for women. All the women who attended had breast cancer. The topic was "Living with Lymphedema," "Commonly caused by the removal of lymph nodes as part of cancer treatment." When the 2 occupational therapists, with lymphedema certifications, started to talk, I could feel my blood pressure rise. I should have left then, but I stayed. And I'm pissed. Really ticked at this entire cancer journey (I know, I'm blessed too, but it is bittersweet). One more thing to "worry" about - Lymphedema can happen years after having been cleared of cancer - it's the gift that gives now or later. Is there a way of preventing this lovely cancer complication? No, but you can - eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, exercise a minimum of 30 minutes, 5-6 times a week, maintain a healthy weight, practice deep breathing, yada yada yada. Blahbbatiy blah blah, but there's no real cure, so we're here tonight to show you all the ways you can TREAT your Lymphedema.
I'm here to say, "BULLSHIT." I'm calling "Hell no, It's not all right" on this. Eating 5 servings of F's and V's, Xercising, Lbs., naaaa, not gonna buy it. I have friggin' cancer, and I did the above - for more than 40 years (it's chemo that added 20 pounds to my healthy body, not me). And what - Yup - hundreds of thousands of dollars, lost time, lost life, nearly dead, and now I have to watch for this the rest of my life? And where did it get Polly - death. Git outta here -
When, when, when is there going to be PREVENTION, not CURE, not TREATMENT, but give me a break - when will cancer NOT be a money making engine? When will cancer NOT be an industry? What is NOT being said/done? The last comment tonight? "What is your insurance?" "Well, your insurance will cover . . . but not . . ." "And as you leave, we have these handouts, so you'll know how to recognize the symptoms."
I hate this - these women tonight DO NOT DESERVE to be wearing compression sleeves, gloves, dealing with lymphatic massages, and taking anti-inflammatories, spending time in the hospital for cellulitis, on top of what they are already dealing with. NO - NO - NO.
I belong to this clan - this community. Did I solicit membership? Nope. Did I beg to join? Nope. Initiation - how about hazing? Yeah - friggin' scars, a port, a nipple that is facing sideways and a half-breast with no feeling. And now I get to worry about radiation and Lymphedema. Good-night Irene. Go to hell medical and political system, I am not your cancer whore - I will not sell my body; I am not an experiment.
OK, I'll do my deep breathing, have an apple (2 servings of fruit), walk my 30+ minutes, calm down (oh yeah, stress can complicate Lymphedema), and then offer you this - a beautiful piece of poetry - but still no non-invasive cure for breast cancer.