There is no more dreaded message than hearing the words come out of the mouth of your physician, “You have cancer!”
Many times you have a inkling because of the symptoms you have been having or because of the type of test the doctor ordered; but at that time you are usually assured that most people do not have cancer….then those dreaded words.
Disbelief and shock are the first two emotions. Your mind kinda shuts down for a while so that it can grasp the meaning of that terrible “C” word.
After reality sets in, you immediately want to know how to “get rid of it!” Some prefer to go for radical surgery in the case of a mastectomy for breast cancer; and try and do just that.
However, many cancers are not that easily removed. According to the type (and how far advanced it is), there are special needs and things to be taken into consideration. After a lengthy interview with the oncologist, the ball is in your park. An oncologist is the doctor trained to treat cancer.
Treatments have come a long way since the days of knowing you had just received a death sentence. That news was usually followed by some terrible treatments that may or may not prove successful. Intense research, public awareness, and many trials later, most people have a good chance of long term survival with the right treatment for the right kind of cancer.
Centuries ago it was not known that there were so many different types of cancer either. Back then, the news meant, “Get ready to plan your funeral” Today, that is far from the norm.
Lack of knowledge about cancer was the norm centuries ago; as were the treatments. Radiation and something called cobalt were the treatments over half a century ago. There were few drugs to help with the side effects of these treatments.
Thanks to organizations like the American Cancer Society (and so many others like Susan Komen) many advances in chemo (and the medicines for the after affects) show that more people are not only surviving but also are dealing with the side effects better.
But nothing beats good old fashioned support from family and friends, and a deep faith in the “Great Physician,” Jesus Christ. So many are praising God for each year of their survival – many are alive today who were diagnosed twenty-five or more years ago. Each anniversary date is a day for celebration.
That is the chemo – now the stinko. Chemo is a method where by chemicals are used to attack the cells; but it is not always selective; and also attacks most parts of the whole body. Some endure it better than others and for some it is the most hell on earth they will ever know.
Weakness, weight loss, nausea, aches and pains, chills with flu like symptoms which may be the result of the chemo varies according to the patient. But there is no way to describe it any better than to say it just down right “stinks!” The ritual and scheduling in and of itself can take its toll.
Treatments are tailor made for each patient. Some will get it every day, every week or every month according to the plan set forth by the oncologist. Many of the side effects can be lessened or stopped altogether with yet more chemicals in the body. The term “chemo” brain can come from the chemo or any of the other drugs that affects emotions, feelings, reactions, and the ability to think clearly. You can find and understand more about chemo treatments here.
Chemotherapy can be used to:
Destroy cancer cells, stop cancer cells from spreading, and to slow the growth of cancer cells. It is a lot like fighting fire with fire.
This can be administered thusly:
Chemotherapy can be given in these forms:
An IV (intravenously)
A shot (injection) into a muscle or other part of your body
A pill or a liquid that you swallow
A cream that is rubbed on your skin
Your doctor will be your greatest information line and will explain to you the procedures, and will answer your questions. However, there is a wealth of information online that can also assist you in making your decisions; and also in finding ways to cope during chemo.
You can call the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Cancer Information Service at 1-800-422-6237 to get the free chemotherapy side effects fact sheets.
There will be many things that come into play in each individual case; but the old saying, “Attitude is everything” certainly is appropriate here.
Those who decide on their best course of action with their physician, and who prepare for the battle (and it is a battle), those who have a good support system, immune system, and those who are otherwise healthy have the best chance of coming through chemo. This also enables them to ‘stand their ground’ against this dreaded disease. It is so important to eat well, sleep well, rest when needed and avoid all manner of stress. As you can, stay busy doing the things you love to do.
The following list will help you further deal with the side effects.
Manage Chemotherapy Side Effects:
That is the Chemo – the Stinko – and now the BINGO!
You are no doubt aware of the game BINGO. When a player puts a marker on the last number called out, they get all excited and holler, BINGO! That is the goal of all who are taking chemo that they will sail through the Stinko, mark off that last date, and will be able to get the good news that they are in remission or completely cured – what we need more of today is those who are cured - rising to their feet and hollering BINGO! I just won the jackpot!”
The best treatment for any cancer lies with the patient before the cancer is present – by following the health rules of not smoking, good diet, exercise, and good health check-ups by their physician. But also equally important is being aware of the seven warning signs of cancer – they are listed below by the acronym CAUTION.
C- change in bowel or bladder habit (colon cancer)
A- a sore that doesn't heal on skin or on mouth
U- unusual bleeding or discharge from rectum, bladder, or vagina
T- thickening or lump in the breast tissue
I- indigestion or difficulty swallowing
O- obvious changes in a wart or mole (skin cancer)
N- nagging cough or hoarseness (lung or throat cancer)
Having chemo is no bed or roses. But it can be compared to a rose garden. A rose garden does not just happen; it is decided upon, planned for, and a lot of hard work poured into it. A bunch of setbacks will have to be dealt by the patient; as well as the whole family.
For a rose garden to appear, it has to go through many transformations; and most are not easy. But in the end the beauty and fragrance of such an accomplishment is well worth the effort.
As in chemo, the ground may be hard, rocky and infested with weeds and roots that must be removed. . It takes a lot of hard work, diligence, perseverance and determination to have a beautiful rose garden. The same is needed when taking chemo.
It is not just a matter of sticking a rose bush in the ground and leaving it to defend on its own. They are subject to hindrances, all sorts of disease, fungus, aphids, blight and drought. As in chemo, there are just some rough days of bad weather; but they will pass.
The faithful gardener does not see the barren ground, nor the hard work; but they keep their eye on what it will become. When all has been done – the gardener can stand back and look at the results and say, “What a beautiful garden, it was all worth it.”
When a cancer patient takes a look back at all they have accomplished and endured during the chemo, they will say, “What a beautiful life – it was all well worth it!”
Footnote: God began healing His people in the very first recorded book of the Bible – Genesis and with nearly 200 references of healing straight through Revelation.
The Bible is a great source of peace and comfort while going through any trial. While Jesus did not heal everyone when He was here on earth; healing of the lame, blind, and others who were in-firmed proved to the world that He was who He said He was. Sickness came into the world because sin entered the world.
While Jesus has not promised to heal everyone who prays, He has promised that He would never leave nor forsake anyone. There are three reasons sickness falls upon people: Chastisement, for the glory of God, and sickness unto death. Many have read and prayed and were not healed in this world; but many have been cured and healed; and God uses many methods to minister to His children; and many times He uses other people.
“News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and He healed them.” Matthew 4:24
God is still in the healing business according to His own will. You have not because you ask not and when you ask sometimes you ask amiss. Remember that God did not spare His own Son in this world; but in the one to come there will be no need for healing for there will be no sickness.