As some of my regular readers know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2003. Hell, I remember the exact date (July 16) and time (4:25 m) when the doctor told me I had invasive ductal carcinoma. The following Monday I had an appointment with the breast surgeon, and my options were discussed. After deciding on a mastectomy and recovery from the surgery, I went off to the oncologist, and my follow-up treatment was discussed and decided upon. Thus far, other than recuperation time for the removal of my breast and lymph nodes, I did not stop any of my activities. Actually, I had gotten in trouble with my breast surgeon several times for doing too much, as I tore open the glue (no stitches in my operation).
Then, on the day that I had my first round of chemotherapy, I can still remember the nurse telling me that I was going to be nauseous, and that I wouldn't be able to do my regular activities because I'd be too tired and sickly. My answer to her was simply, "I don't have time for that nonsense." And the nurse launched into a "you have to recognize that your life is not the same anymore" speech.
Yes, I said phooey. Keeping to my regular schedule as much as possible (barring doctors appointments) was my way of dealing with the psychological changes that come with breast cancer. I would have a chemo treatment on Wednesday, Thursday I'd give myself the neulasta, shot and Friday would be my "bad" day -- the day I was most tired and slept most of the afternoon, and on Saturday I'd be traveling with my boys to Atlanta, GA, Kennesaw, GA, Huntsville, AL, or Nashville, TN for their travel hockey games. At that time, I had not missed one of my kids game in more than 10 years, and I'd be god damned if some disease was going to stop me from seeing their games that season.
I worked cleaning houses, not missing a day, other than for doctors appointment. I worked, running my hubby's and my construction business, without missing a damn thing. I did these things because I had to, and more importantly, because if I didn't, I'd lose my sanity. I kept to my regular schedule because I needed normalcy.
Of the other women I know with breast cancer, they kept to their regular schedules as much as possible, also, for normalcy.
So, when Elizabeth Edwards announced that her breast cancer had metastasized, earlier today, and that she and John decided the campaign would continue, I completely understood. Her normalcy, at this time, is campaigning for and with her husband. I can't tell you how much the need to lead a normal life is paramount to keeping your own sanity.
So, when I checked over at freeperville, just out of curiosity, well more like touching a bruise to make sure it still hurts, I couldn't believe the ignorance being expressed. Here's a sampling:
Watch Edwards milk this for every tear, vote and advantange like the oily personal injury attorney he is.
1 posted on 03/22/2007 3:24:15 PM PDT
It's disgraceful that someone who doesn't even need to work would willingly take to the campaign trail while his wife is dying and his small children (around 6 and 8) are left without a parent to care for them while she undergoes treatment.
9 posted on 03/22/2007 3:34:57 PM PDT
What a complete jackass. His wife may die and all he can think of is his stinking ambitions.
10 posted on 03/22/2007 3:37:42 PM PDT
So, basically,Elizabeth's desire for normalcy is being spun as her husband being an opportunist? What would these people rather have? That Elizabeth and the thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer curl up and stop participating in life? How fucking 19th century!
I'm sorry, but for many women with breast cancer, and worse yet, metastatic breast cancer, curling up into a ball is just not an option, nor should it be an option for Elizabeth Edwards. To say otherwise is to show your ignorance of the situation, the disease, and her desires.
Update: as I was writing this post, I received an email from breastcancer.org. They have, one of the better community groups I've found online for those diagnosed with bc. The email says, in part:
Recurrence is every cancer survivor's greatest fear. Mrs. Edwards said, "Every time you get something suspicious you go into alarm mode."
We, at breastcancer.org, understand how scary it can be to hear news like this. So, we wanted to take the time to remind our community that a recurrence of breast cancer or metastatic disease is NOT hopeless. Many women continue to live long, productive lives with breast cancer in this stage. There are so many treatment options available now and more are always being studied. You can read more about breast cancer recurrence by visiting:
Keeping a positive attitude and surrounding yourself with supportive people can make all the difference in the world. Mrs. Edwards said of her family's philosophy, "We're always going to look for the silver lining -- it's who we are as people."
We applaud Mrs. Edwards' decision to discuss her breast cancer recurrence publicly, and to simultaneously focus attention on the best treatment options to overcome this disease.The breastcancer.org community is inspired by her courage and determination and wishes her and her family the best during this difficult time.
I couldn't agree more!