I think it’s interesting that one of the six “treatments” that led to unexpected remission of cancer is trusting one’s intuition about treatment. So many people tell me that they “had to have” a particular treatment, and what they mean is that a doctor told them they needed it to survive.
The past few days have brought news of people who are suffering more from cancer treatments than from cancer. Robin Roberts of Good Morning America announced that she has a serious disease that was caused by the chemotherapy she had for breast cancer 5 years ago.
I received two emails this week about young women who died from complications of their cancer treatments. One had surgery for colon cancer, and died from an infection that resulted. The other email didn’t give details — just that she died of complications of treatment.
I recently heard a local doctor speak about the importance of knowing potential side effects before choosing a treatment. He cautioned us not to just accept any treatment that an oncologist recommends, but to ask for several options and the pros and cons of each. He said we need to research what the benefits of a particular treatment are, and to know what the long term side effects might be. He gave examples of several commonly used chemotherapies that have a high risk of causing heart disease in the future.
I have written recently about the major surgery that was recommended to remove the tumor in my lung. And then I wrote about the conference I attended in which doctors cautioned against surgery because it promotes inflammation which in turn promotes the growth of cancer.
When surgery was recommended, it was presented to me as if it were the only viable option. An opinion from another doctor recommended cryoablation as a less invasive option with equally good results, and far fewer side effects. And my intuition is to wait until another CT scan in July to make a decision.
I want to propose to all of us that we gather as much information as we can about any treatment recommendations, and carefully consider the pros and cons. And then get in touch with our intuition about treatments, and not let someone else make the decisions.
My email ‘signature’ includes three lines that say: “Bless the present; Trust yourself; Expect the best.” I like keeping that reminder in front of me regularly. Today’s focus is on trusting myself. It’s not an idea that is supported by most medical experts, which is why I’m writing about it and encouraging all of us to have the courage to do it.