Happily, I am now a five year breast cancer survivor, and I am thankful to my friends, family, my health care team, and to science and medical discoveries. Dealing with cancer and treatment is never easy and it's damned scary, but it is easier when you have support from friends, not prayers, but a shoulder to lean on. One of my closest Catholic friends and I were suffering from cancer at the same time. I was lucky, she was not. Cancer doesn't care if you sprinkle holy water on yourself or whether you are an atheist.
Please share your story and let's celebrate, express our gratitude, and support those who are battling cancer without god.
Congratulations to you too, Patricia. One out of six women gets breast cancer. Every time I am in a gathering of six women, I hope I'm the only one in the group. Cheers!
For all women who've ever wondered if the Pink Ribbon campaigns are worthless... watch this very well made documentary: Pink Ribbons Inc., by renowned film maker Léa Pool, from Quebec.
I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in December, 2008. The following spring I underwent a radical prostatectomy by means of DaVinci Robotic Surgery. After a month's recovery I underwent six weeks of radiation treatment. Ever since then, I've been undergoing semi-annual cancer screenings. My last examination (Sep., 2013) involved a cystoscopy, ultrasound examination and a few blood tests. All results were negative.
Thank you so much for your story and encouragement. I very much agree with your statement, "Dealing with cancer and treatment is never easy and it's damned scary, but it is easier when you have support from friends, not prayers, but a shoulder to lean on. One of my closest Catholic friends and I were suffering from cancer at the same time. I was lucky, she was not. Cancer doesn't care if you sprinkle holy water on yourself or whether you are an atheist."
My experience with cancer, with the surgery, chemo, radiation and now seven more months of Herceptin has been scary and enlightening. Those who said they would pray for me, I responded by thanking them and saying to think about the meaning of cancer, its causes and prevention, then go get a thorough examination. If they still had time and energy, volunteer at a cancer care phacility, or give to cancer research, or do a fundraising project. That means more to me than kneeling and praying.
I am an atheist and I have no problem for lack of a god to save me. My professional team, my family team, my neighbor team and my virtual team on the internet walked with me through the terrible times and the milestones along the way to healing.
I join you in battling cancer without god.
I, too, am a breast cancer survivor and this Atheist Nexus team walked with me through the most dreadful days and cheered me on as I climbed Mount Cancer! I am almost completed with treatment and look forward to a healthy, productive, happy future.
I am so encouraged to learn of your five year recovery. There is real hope for those just beginning the climb, and with good teams of medical professionals, family, neighbors, friends, and virtual friends, we can remain relatively peaceful during those challenges.
May I recommend the Cancer group here on A|N; many people posted describing their symptoms, effects of treatments, things that helped and harmed them as they took on the fight, and even offered some fun along the way.
So many people offered me prayers when I reported I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I thanked them for their concern and then asked them to get a check up themselves and remind their loved ones to get one. I also offered ideas of other things they could actually do, such as give money to cancer research, participate in money raising drives, to learn about cancer, and volunteer at a cancer care facility. The volunteers who helped me learn how to unplug chemo equipment and go to the bathroom, or who brought me water or snacks to help get the chemical taste out of my mouth, or who helped those who had no help from family members, or to hold an emesis basin for those whose bodies projectile vomited.
On my more wretched days, when prayer was offered I said that prayer was inadequate and insufficient when dealing with cancer, they could do something useful and list options.
Cancer is not a kind, loving, or compassionate disease. It requires thought and action to meet it head on. On March 19, 2013, when my physician called to tell me I had breast cancer, I responded as I do to any challenge, "What do we do now?" I create a team from the very beginning and built them as I went along.
As I completed each protocol of chemo, radiation, and now Herceptin drips, I thank each team member and express my gratitude for their kindness and compassion. I have no need to thank god or any supernatural being other than my own body's work.
Thank you for sharing your story Roz and Russ.
There is no cancer on either side of my family... so I am crossing my fingers that I'm in the clear also. But I am fascinated by the Pink-Ribbon-Big-Pharma-charity-industrial-complex.
This week, 4 of the biggest Cancer foundations (Breast, children, and... watch the documentary) in North America have been caught defrauding the government for fraudulent tax deductions for donations in kind to Guatemala.
By David Fitzpatrick and Drew Griffin, CNN Investigations (on AC360)
"Documents obtained by CNN show that Charity Services International, a private South Carolina company, claimed to have shipped nearly $40 million in medicines and other donations on behalf of 15 small charities to Guatemala in 2010. Those same charities also reported sending another $10 million to Guatemala the next year.
According to its tax filings, one of those American charities, The Breast Cancer Society of Mesa, Arizona, claimed to have shipped $22 million of donations by itself in 2010.
This in addition to the many many studies in the last decade demonstrating "early detection" is not at all efficient at diminishing deaths by breast cancer, and that the obsession with mammograms destroys more lives than it saves.
Back in the days, breast cancer campaigns were part of the feminist movement, because our medical research establishments were treating women pretty badly, but as the Mega-charity-Big-Pharma-industrial-complex has taken over these campaigns, one wonders if we're getting value for our money.
Oh jeez! You are correct! "one wonders if we're getting value for our money."
Well, if that is the reality, there must be a remedy. Thankfully, you report from an investigation by CNN, the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting. That is a beginning. Now, it is up to us to read, understand, and act upon these findings.
At the same time, I am grateful for the research that shows there is a difference between different products and one can make a better choice, given there has been researched testing of the effectiveness of different products and processes. My chemo and radiation M.D.s gave me all kinds of research reports when I asked for more information. If they were faux reports, shame on them. If they were valid, shame on those who do not report accurately.
So many of my friends and loved ones gave me surefire remedies that had no basis in double blind research, and I could dismiss them out of hand.
I had months of diagnostics and treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last year and thankfully it looks as though the thing has been defeated.
Yes, the treatment regime took some bearing, seven rounds of chemo followed by twenty-one sessions of radiotherapy. I had to set myself the goal of outlasting it all, a technique I learned as a child who had a great deal to practise on, what with severe pain, and a special school education!
Derek, good news about your non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has been defeated. You endured and now you are on your way to restored energy and enthusiasm for living. We have only this life to live and we had better make the most of it.
I look forward to following your progress; please keep us informed.