Blog Archives - The Funny Thing About Cancer
 
Picture
Photo by Alex Stoddard
Do you ever see a photo and think "WOW!" but otherwise are left with a lack of words?

When I saw the above image, I was floored. 

It was like this artist saw into my soul and created this photograph just for me.

Now, I'm sure many people can look at this photo and in some way relate it to their own life, but for me, this photo captures my battle with cancer in a way my words never will.

My life is that cliff.  Cancer is the awaiting abyss below.  And my goal was to pull myself out of that abyss with the same amount of serenity that I see on that man's face.  I see no terror there.  No fear that his grip will falter and he will fall onto the rocks below.  Instead I see a quiet certainty that he will get himself out of that perilous place, stand up with a quirky grin on his face and say "Phew!  That was close!"

Right now, I'm beginning to feel that deep sense of hope and relief.  My port will be removed tomorrow, which is truly the end of treatment for me.  I've conquered every step of this battle.  I've pulled myself out of that abyss.  

There is still fear.  Fear that I will lose my footing and find myself hanging off that exact same cliff (I'm kinda clumsy sometimes), but I'm truly hopeful that in just 3.5 years, I can declare myself offically cured!  Oh what a wondrous day that will be!  Who wants to come to THAT party?!?! 

Anywho, I just wanted to share this striking photo with you that inspired me today.  To give credit where it is due, the man in this photo is Alex Stoddard.  He is an 18 year old photographer that recently completed a project he called "Project 365", where he produced a photo every day for a year.  The above photo is one of them.  You can see more of his work here.
 
UGH!  I hate cancer.  HATE it.

And here's the thing, I don't really hate much of anything or anyone.  I'm not a person that is big on strong negative emotions like that.

But cancer... I can't even tell you how much I loathe it. 

I'm sure you're wondering, where the heck did this come from????

Well, yesterday I found out that someone I know has lukemia.  This man is the father of one of my best friends from high school.  He's one of those genuinely wonderful people that, even though I haven't seen him in 5+ years, I still adore him.  My memories of he, his wife and my friend are some of my fondest from high school. 

Her parents were always there.  They never judged.  And their form of "advice" was to ask questions until you realized the answers yourself.  They are absolutely wonderful people.

And it just makes me so angry that yet another person that I care about has been affected by this disease.

My mother would tell me that anger is a wasted emotion.  To be angry with something or someone is to give it power.  And I hate to give cancer any more power in my life.

And yet, I know what lies ahead for this funny, quiet, gentle man.  It brings tears to my eyes.  Tears of sorrow that he has to battle this same demon in a different form.  His battle will be even more intense than my own. 

More than anything, it makes me wish cancer would go away.  I wish some genius out there would find a way to kill it.  Permenantly.  To destroy this disease so I no longer have to fear it.  So I no longer have to fear for those I love.  So I no longer have to hate anything.

For now, I guess I will simply keep praying.  I'll pray for my friend, her family and her father.  I'll pray for my own peace of mind.  And I'll pray hardest for a cure.
 
In two national high school science competitions this year, the winners have made major discoveries related to cancer.

First there is Angela Zhang (age 17).  What did she do?  She created a nanoparticle.  This nanoparticle targets and destroys cancer cells. 

My mind is officially blown!

A 17 year old came up with a nanoparticle that might be the cure to cancer.  Obviously this has to be tested and whatnot and might just be another exciting treatment.  But still!  SHE CREATED A NANOPARTICLE!

When I was 17, I don't think I even knew there was such a thing as a nanoparticle.  Heck, I was lucky that I could place half the elements correctly on the periodic table.  My favorite part of chem class was the time we made ice cream using liquid nitrogen.  I'm obviously a science genius.

Anywho, I read this article today and I was just blown away that there are teenagers out there who are trying to cure cancer.  CURE CANCER! 

Then there is Jack Andraka, age 15, who created a test for pancreatic cancer that is cheaper, faster, and 100 times more sensitive than the current text on the market.  Oh, and it's 90% accurate. 

Again, my mind is blown. 

Testing for cancer is usually very invasive and takes a LONG TIME.  Just for my breast cancer, I first had to go see a doctor.  Then he ordered an ultrasound (because I couldn't get a mammogram due to my pregnancy).  So I had to wait about a week to go to that.  Most patients then have to wait to schedule a biopsy if there is something suspcious, but my ultrasound tech did it right away.  The biopsy involves sticking a HUGE needle into the lump and snipping off a piece.  Then you have to wait 4-6 days to get the results back from the lab.  It took me 10-14 days to go from finding my lump to getting my diagnosis and that was actually pretty fast.

Waiting that long to find out if you have cancer is insanely stressful and awful. 

So for a 15 year old kid to develop a test where you pee in a cup and find out a day or two later if you do/don't have pancreatic cancer... that's HUGE! 

I hope that they can develop similar tests for other internal cancers!

Bottom line is that when I read these articles about these kids doing cancer research, I was floored.  I was excited to see that our next generation of reserachers and doctors is ALREADY making discoveries.  It just takes my breath away.  It gives me hope that maybe we'll actually find a CURE for this beast... sooner than I ever thought possible.