Monday, March 8, 2010

staying positive

the ladies at radiation today were expressing concern, but in a tut-tut sort of way, about another breast cancer patient who didn't seem to them to have a positive outlook. i saw this woman a little later and when i asked her about her hair, which is about an inch long (again, my boundary issues and hair obsession took over), she explained that she had chemo before surgery because she has inflamatory breast cancer, hence the presence of hair during radiation.

what she didn't tell me, but i have learned, is that inflamatory breast cancer is rare (1% of all breast cancers), appears in younger women (which she is) and is very, very aggressive. simply by being diagnosed with this type of cancer, you are automatically at stage IIIB and facing a five-year survival rate of 40%. treatment is chemo first, then a modified radical mastectomy, then radiation.

she was friendly, out front and maybe just a little cynical. i liked her. i don't think thinking happy thoughts is going to make a damn bit of difference. what may is that her treatment team is on it, acting quickly and aggressively, and she is right there with them.

i think the other ladies cling to the idea that "being positive" will save them. and even that "being positive" equates to being a good person, and somehow makes them more worthy of being saved.

screw being positive.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that.
    IBC is brutal, and I had never heard of it either, until a year ago. My friend recently died from it, though she did out live the expectations of her prognosis. It wasn't positive attitude that kept her here longer though - more likely the amount of times she said "fuck cancer" and forged on. Her fabulous blog is Circling my Head