Ann’s Diary: World Cancer Day 2014

I was getting out of the shower this morning–well, it might have crested noon by that time–when a good friend texted me and said, “It’s World Cancer Day. Feel like blogging?”

I didn’t know it was Tuesday, much less World Cancer Day, and I stood and looked at the text. Just half an hour earlier, wrapped in my bathrobe that I couldn’t get out of this morning, I had said to myself, “You haven’t blogged in a long time, Ann.” But the thing about my blogging is I don’t blog until I feel like I have something to say. And not a whining thing–a real thing. A thing you and I might actually get something from…

…and there will be thousands of articles about WCDay today anyway. So what’s the point.

That’s not unlike what I’ve been feeling about this whole metastatic-cancer-in-brain-in-lung-try-this-new-chemo-which-makes-you-sick life I’m leading right now. What is the f-ing point of this? What if I just stopped all the chemo and said F it. Clearly the C is in the lead and Ann’s life-as-she-knew-it is in the ash can. What if I just tossed all the bags and the pills out the window and let the clock run down?

These are simple questions that fly around my room like rabid bats, occasionally getting tangled in my mind. Letting the clock run down means countdown to no more Mum, no more wife, no more pals, no more me. I think of that one and I think ‘why wouldn’t the world want me here?’ Like I just told a friend who emailed me with her condolences, “I just keep asking the universe, are you SURE you want me gone? Because this world does not seem full of positivity. I can bring that, you know. I’ve been doing that. Are you sure you want that voice to be silenced?”

And then I go the other way: what if I just keep up like this? Pills every day, setting up meetings with friends (for walks), losing weight, fighting for my day so that I don’t lose another one sitting in bed. Every day I live now is dedicated to NOT letting cancer take me before I’m gone. It’s a boatload of work and it’s no fun–but I’m doing it.

Still the questions….

So…if I have two green smoothies instead of one per day, will that help? If my trainer volunteers (which she has) to come by each day and help my lung capacity get stronger with easy exercises, will that help? If I have 4 bags of saline….if I eat pineapple seeds….or jalapeno pepper seeds…flax seed oil (which I’ve taken for years), Graviola leaves (check), no-dairy (check), meds from the docs (check)…’s exhausting. Everyone it seems has “the cure” for cancer, but claims an industry/government conspiracy of repression to keep it from us. That’s some dedicated, organized, well-managed industry/government work. If they could transfer that ability to Capitol Hill, oh what a world this could be.

So back to World Cancer Day. As usual, I am so happy that groups everywhere, like this one, shed a spotlight on this stupid, life-leaching, long-going, determined-to-kill bastard of a disease. I thank all of you from the bottom of my breaking heart for caring.

But if you really want to do something for those of us in the battle, or those who are going to be, do it soon. Some of us are going….much faster than we ever expected. If you need any extra reasons, think of any little face you see, boy or girl, and think–“I could save him/her.” And if you need a Real Big Reason for helping crush cancer, think of what I told Tyler Jacks, Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research during the “Women on the Frontlines Fighting Breast Cancer” Conference at MIT last fall when he asked me:

“Ann, you have a lot of medical people in the room, researchers, educators: What is the one thing you want them to know, the one thing (modified here because my memory is bad) that could make their practice better? ”

And I said, “Cancer has changed. It’s sneaky. It’s no longer just after the fast food eaters, the smokers and the women over 60. It’s after all of us. If there’s one thing that you can do to make you practice better, it’s to treat your patients like humans. They weren’t stupid, they didn’t overindulge or forget their almonds or ignore the gym. New cancer patients are some of the healthiest people out there–until they find (in my case) a lump. So Tyler, I guess my advice to all medical people is this:

to make your practice better, every time you open that patient door to see another frightened face on the other side, whisper to yourself “there but for the Grace of God go I.”

It’s compassion that will make us all feel better as we fight for our lives and you try to smother this world cancer beast–once and for all.

This blog is dedicated to Chris F.



Posted February 4th, 2014
Posted in: Ann's Diary