Be Careful What you Wish For

06/02/2014 08:13

I am a wee bit angry. Really? Me - with my reputation? Angry? Come now Emma, that's not like you......

I am probably angry at the wrong things. Like people who think up idiotic ad campaigns like this one for Pancreatic Cancer: 

I understand the message they are trying to get across. Yes, statistically Breast Cancer is more "survivable" and "treatable" than Pancreatic Cancer. However, Breast Cancer is also the number one cancer killer of women in the UK. I agree that there has been more research and more funding for Breast Cancer. Too many people with Pacreatic Cancer are diagnosed too late and have a very poor prognosis. I get it 

Statistics don't tell the whole story. People are still dying from Breast Cancer. If it spreads, which is has a habit of doing, ultimately you will die from it. Metastic Breast Cancer is NOT curable. 

I quote from a NHS document dated from 2012 : 

"Breast cancer causes about 13,000 deaths each year in England and Wales and is 
the principal cause of female cancer deaths in the UK. 30,000 women are diagnosed 
with breast cancer each year; 80% of cases occur in post-menopausal women. 
Approximately 20% of women initially presenting with breast cancer have advanced 
disease with distant metastases and around 50% of those presenting with early or 
localized breast cancer will eventually develop metastatic disease. "

Given the fact that although I have technically finished treatment, I am not "cured" or in "remission" and I am still being checked for recurrence and mets, I understand now why, if this is what the NHS are saying! 

What I am angry about is the whole concept that somehow one type of cancer is better to get than any other. Cancer is not a bloody competition. It is shit. It is hard. It is scary. Treatment is debilitating and invasive. Some people cope better with treatment than others. On "paper" some people with an early diagnosis look cureable - things unfortunately, don't always turn out like that. Fate can throw a curve ball. Individuals are what counts. Not statistics. We are not numbers. We are people. Unique. 

So I would not say that the average person wishes they could get Breast Cancer. Most people wish they could win the lottery. Get their dream job, Have a wonderful partner. Have a happy life. Get away on a holiday of a lifetime. You get my drift. I occasionally wish that Jensen Ackles could take a break from filming, track me down, ring my doorbell and say "Hi, I got you some pie." Or that Fall Out Boy could swing their tour bus round to our house and do an impromptu gig in our living room. And that Patrick could give me and Jess a hug (he is a very good hugger supposedly!). I wish we had enough money to pay the mortgage off so my hubbie didn't have to slog his guts up to London everyday. I wish I had the certainty of seeing my kids grow up, do whatever they want to do, get married, have children (eventually) and be happy. I wish they would never get ill or have to go through what I've been through. But mostly --- this will blindside you (you will never have guesssed this was coming ) --- most of all, I wish I DID NOT HAVE CANCER, I wish I could walk into my consultants office, and he would give me a hug, and say "Guess what Emma? It's a miracle. You're cured. 100%. All gone". That's what I wish for.

It hasn't happened yet. I tackled the son-of-a-bitch stalker. I chased her up the highest cliff I could find. Handbags at dawn, we battled it out. I push her over the edge of the precipice with all my might. Somehow she manages to cling on. I stamp on her hands. Nothing. I prise every single pointy, gnarly, witchety, finger off the edge, one-by-one. She falls off, screaming. Triumphantly, l punch my arm in the air. Hurrah! Then I peer over the edge, expecting to see a bloodied mess, smashed to bits, on the rocks below. Nothing. Na-da. Puzzled, I look again. And then I see it. The ledge. About 10 feet below me. And she is there. Snarling and howling with rage. ((Shaking her fist at me)). I guess I will have to keep on trying to finish her off. Damn. I do hate stalkers! 

But anyway, back to the rant in point. This "hard-hitting" campaign is crass, insensitive and insulting to all those people struggling with a cancer diagnosis, whatever cancer it may be.When I got diagnosed, I did not think to myself "Oh goody. It's only Breast Cancer. Not too bad. Could have been worse. I'll be fine. A few months out of my life. No biggie. I can even get a free boob job on the NHS. Laudy, lucky me!" Nooooo. My first though was "Oh my God, I am going to die." And my second thought was "What will my children do without their Mum?" My consultant did not shake me by the hand to congratulate me that I had the Soft One. The Easy Option. And I most certainly did not say "Oh I so pleased I haven't got Lung cancer, or Brain Cancer, or Pancreatic Cancer." I curled into a ball and cried. And shrieked with rage "Why me?" And  I pooped myself. Get big hairy turds of crap. Everywhere.

Bear in mind this was before the Angelina Jolie-effect. You see, the media have a part to blame in this. Breast Cancer is seen as a sugar-coated, fluffy pink, glamorous, must-have celebrity commodity these days. Why , look at Angelina, one of the most beautiful ladies on the planet? Look what she went through and she looks amazing. Well, I am no doubting she went through traumatic surgery. Been there, got the damn t-shirt, thank you very much. But lest we forget - SHE DID NOT HAVE CANCER. But the very fear of developing Breast Cancer, and the possibility that she might die and not see her children grow up, was enough to spur her to take radical action - a double mastectomy is not easy or fun. Its not like having a cosmetic boobjob. Sorry, but it's not! 

It is not the slightest bit helpful or even justifiable to promote one cancer above another. I understand that the lady in the film really did say these words. And I understand that maybe she felt a Breast Cancer diagnosis would be more survivable. Treatable. Curable. And yes it can be. If it is detected early enough. The statistics don't paint the whole picture. Stage 4 Breast Cancer is not curable. It is not survivable. It is terminal. And the statistics haven't changed that much for those pooor ladies who a Stage 4 diagnosis. It's pretty much a death sentence. And who is to say which  "curable /treatable" cancer is a "good option". Cancer is traumatic for all those involved, for the person who has to go through treatment (which may or may not work) and, sadly,  in some cases could kill them. For their family to watch their loved one suffering and in pain. For their friends who want to help, but feel helpless. And I unfortunately have known ladies who have lost their fight to this "treatable/curable" cancer. What I find abhorrent and repugnant is that an ad campaign was designed around this ill-thought, knee-jerk statement from an obviously frightened, shit-scared lady, with an awful prognosis and who is probably mad as hell that her cancer was not dected earlier. To create controversy. To get some publicity. Well I hope its worth it people! 

Suffice to say I am bloody angry. at this stupid campaign.

And that makes me feel sad. Because I should really be bloody angry at stupid, crappy cancer!!!!

Right deep breath.... Sorry everyone, rant over.

Today is my One Year Anniversary of my first encounter with the scalpel. A year since Warrior Prince whipped the tumour out.  I saw Warrior Prince mid week again. The clinic was running over an hour late and he was stressed. But it was worth it to see his smile (melt.......). He said the nodule was more than likely a raised lymph node that had come up from my tummy. And they had discussed it in their meeting but have decided to leave it alone, for now. He had a good prod around and felt my neck, under both arms and squished the good right boob, and the new "bionic" one. He said there is some thickening on the left side. On the tumour site area. Which is probably just necrosis but he is not happy to leave it unchecked. So another ultrasound awaits. I just can't get enough of them ultrasounds. And he wants me to have a mammogram on the right boob (which so far has behaved itself). If they are all clear I don't need to go back and see him for SIX months.  Which is bloody brilliant news. (But also a wee bit sad that I won't see Warrior Prince).

I have rescheduled my nipple recon to 1st April now. April Fool's Day. Seems a bit ironic. That's just how I roll at the moment.

Hopefully Mr Bond will still be as fine as ever with dashing Mr D'Arcy assisting - what could possibly go wrong?? (There we go with the irony again....)