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Easy Chemo

Posted 3/2/2013

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  Very honestly, I walk a fine line here. I suspect that most readers (and I hope there are some! Did you see my plea yesterday to please write a comment?) are women who have early breast cancer, but I know that some have advanced/metastatic disease. I am very aware that women with advanced disease too often feel that the breast cancer community ignores them. Once you have moved into that world, it can seem that you are everyone's worst fear, and it is easier to pretend it can't happen.

  This is, therefore, a warning. Today's posting is an excerpt and then a link to the wonderful blog, But, Doctor, I hate pink, written by a woman who has Stage IV breast cancer. This is about so-called "easy" chemo which does seem to be an oxymoron. However, if you have the misfortune to become a chemo expert, to have the varied experiences that might entitle you to write the equivalent of a Zagat guide to breast cancer chemotherapies, you would know that some are much more difficult than others.

  Here is the start of her honest, cynical, and (for me, anyway) totally wonderful essay:

EASY CHEMO

Many of us in CancerLand use the term "easy" to describe certain chemos. "Oh, that's an easy chemo, you'll like that one" I've said to a cancer buddy, without realizing that statement may sound slightly insane to the healthy hipster sitting next to me at the Starbucks. You normal folks probably don't even realize there are dozens of classes of chemotherapy drugs, all which work in different ways on your cells.

Many of us in CancerLand use the term "easy" to describe certain chemos. "Oh, that's an easy chemo, you'll like that one" I've said to a cancer buddy, without realizing that statement may sound slightly insane to the healthy hipster sitting next to me at the Starbucks. You normal folks probably don't even realize there are dozens of classes of chemotherapy drugs, all which work in different ways on your cells.

For those of you who haven't followed this blog from the beginning, let me explain and save you about 50,000 words: if you are a Breast Cancer Stage IV lottery winner, your prize is treatment.

Forever.

Yay.

It never stops. There are no "six rounds of chemo and you are done" like with the earlier stages. Early stage women get a few rounds of adjuvent chemo for the purpose of killing any microscopic cells that may be floating around. In some of us, that didn't work, and so we end up with unsurvivable cancers. We get palliative chemo, which means they are no longer trying to cure us, just give us symptom relief, maybe put us into temporary remission, or slow the cancer down and give us a longer life. If none of that happens with one treatment, and the cancer progresses while on it, than we try something new, but we never stop.

Read more:

http://www.butdoctorihatepink.com/2013/02/easy-chemo.html

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