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  • Nathira Salim

A good read.

Welcome back to my blog.


In my last post, I wrote about the rights of a cancer patient to not only stay positive throughout their cancer ordeal, but also feel anger and sorrow over it. As I was browsing the net for such articles, I came through an article about a journalist who had cancer. I don't exactly have the link now, but the journalist mentioned was Ms Mary Elizabeth Williams who wrote a book called "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles - A True Story of Love, Science and Cancer". In summary its the author's version of her cancer ordeal. I got curious and immediately borrowed the e- version of the book from my library app.


As I read through this easy to read book, I was able to understand and relate to her situations. Not only her, but also of her friend's experiences. She was a Stage 4 melanoma cancer patient. Hers has a happy ending because her cancer disappeared after she enrolled in a trial for a new drug in immunotherapy. But as she wrote about her friend Debbie, I cried buckets, because I was so sad for her. I understood how hard it was for the author to survive but her best friend not make it. This is a really good book, and I would really recommend this book to everyone who relates to anything cancer. I read this book in 4 hours.


The following are the lines that I felt were real and genuine and related to me, and I have shared them below :


  1. I'm not nobody, and death does not kindly stop for anybody. It barges in, not waiting a turn. It doesn't give a damn if you have your own stuff going on, or if one of your best friend does.

  2. The only thing worse than feeling like you're disappointing people by dying has got to be feeling like you're disappointing people by remaining alive.

  3. It takes a lot of work to come into this world and it takes a lot of work to leave it.

  4. Love is an ever renewing contract. It's a choice you make - and keep making.

  5. Because it's not my job to make anybody else feel comfortable about my trip to Cancer Town.

  6. "..how much I hate the word 'survivor'. It's a lie. It's a crass fiction that other people impose on you to make themselves feel save. Like we can all move on now and forget about the cancer. But you cannot forget cancer. It huffs and it puffs and it blows through your life, and even if it doesn't tear your house down today, it's just going to try again tomorrow".

  7. The world doesn't grind to a halt just because your life might.

  8. .."You cannot get pregnant," something inside of me died a little. My "don't want to" became a "not allowed to." My most abstract, fuzzy-fuzzy concepts are now vividly real. I am never going to have another baby. I am going to die someday. Possibly soon. Really."

  9. Its the companions you make in your journeys, the person you cling to in strange terrain, when the traveler next to you is your one constant,

  10. And if you think it takes guts to survive cancer, I defy you to understand how much it takes to go through it when there's nothing more to be done.

  11. The hope of recovery is gone, but the hope of ease and comfort is still there. There's hope for different things - but there's hope nonetheless, and it's powerful. It's not an unconditional surrender, and it sure as hell isn't losing a battle.

Again, I am glad I read this book. It was informational and timely for me. I wish and hope that just as the author became cancer free, one day, in the near future, patients with cancer will be treated with immunotherapy instead of surgery, chemo and radiation and be free from cancer as well. Amen.


Note:

Much of the research looking at immunotherapies to treat breast cancer is focusing on metastatic disease, especially triple-negative breast cancer (breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor-negative, progesterone-receptor-negative, and HER2-receptor negative). These type of cancer are harder to treat and such most trials focus on them.

For more, you may read up here.



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