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January 26, 2012: Random Thoughts about Breast Cancer

It’s been a very piecemeal couple of days, feels like my thoughts are all over the place. And, I suppose with good reason. Got a lot of seemingly unrelated things going on. None seem connected, although everything is connected.  

First of all, I am in a state of disbelief about my friend Carol. Last night she told me she got her pathology report back, and the news was bad. The breast cancer has spread to her lymph nodes. I really didn’t think that her situation was this bad when she first told me about it. My hearing this news was akin to getting hit in the head with a concrete block.

After, I quickly ran though the whole range of emotions – disbelief, shock, and now righteous anger. I keep asking myself, how could this be?

Carol’s decided to eschew the standard treatment options, a mastectomy, radiation, and chemical therapy included. She will resort to the use of alternative therapies.

The immediate impulse of most people would be to go with the standard treatment options, then go with the alterative options. The line of thought being get the bad stuff out of there, and then follow up with a restricted diet and a revamped lifestyle. Carol has decided to forego the invasive medical procedures and will instead focus on the alternatives.  

A part of Carol’s reasoning is that the standard treatment options would be disfiguring, ongoing, and extremely painful. And the alternative treatments would be a gentler way of going about regaining her lost good health.  

At first, my inclination was to encourage Carol to go the standard route. Then I did some hard thinking about this – it’s all actually Carol’s choice, and her decision, to go with alternative methods, complements her belief system as this relates to nutrition and health, and her views about the medical system. I just have my fingers crossed that all goes well for her. All of a sudden her world has turned upside down. Carol was planning on doing a lengthy canoe trip this summer, and to put up a hoop house. Now she’s packing her belongings and getting ready to leave town. She’s hopping on a plane on February 5, and heading for Seattle, WA. Friends will take her to Anacortes, WA. She doesn’t know if or when she’ll return home. She’s taking a gamble here, and putting her life on the line.

Of course, I’m left with questions. For one, I’m wondering how and why this happened to my good friend. This isn’t at all right, fair, or just. This, I am sure, is a question that thousands upon thousands of friends of women who have breast cancer now have. Another question I have is how come only the very rich or those with insurance can now afford extended health care? Carol isn’t rich, nor does she have insurance coverage. It seems to me that everyone in this country should have access to good health care. It’s incomprehensible that anyone would have reason to think otherwise. It makes no sense at all to me.

The best I can now do is be a very good friend, and give her an assist in planning for her next move. And too, as much moral support as is humanly possible.

Next: 52. 1/27/12: Random Thoughts