Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Laws of Attraction

One of the more annoying books out there is The Secret whose premise is that positive thought manifests itself in success. Conversely negative thought manifests itself in all sorts of negativity guessed it. I don't try to have a 'bad attitude', I realize it doesn't make me too much fun to be around so I try to keep my whining to myself. But it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to, whine when I want to..

If the bad attitude police scoured the blogs of those saints Cari and Shin (and countless others), they would find them the epitomes of rightthink but still cancer killed them right in the beginning of raising young children. Cari writes in her blog: people always ask, "why me?" I ask why not me, I can take it.

Shortly after chemo began, I attended the Look Good, Feel Better program put on by the ACS. (I highly recommend it-according to a recent article, hardly any women are signing up for it around here. Did cancer suddenly disappear?). After the official program was over in which we received ~$200 worth of make-up, they let us try on wigs (usually not part of the program). I thought the idea was to see what style we looked best in so we'd know what to look for when we got our own wigs. I found a brown pageboy with lots of blonde highlights that looked really good on me. Another participant saw me with the wig and asked to try it on. Sure, why not? It looked real good on her too. As she was admiring herself, the program director came over and asked if she wanted it. Of course she did but I had grabbed it first. Now should I be nice here? The program director said not to worry, she was sure she had another one just like it somewhere and left us for 15 minutes alone.

My potential wig twin was a real sweet woman from Ann Arbor that I haven't run into since. Suddenly she turned from smiley woman to angry woman. This is so unfair!!! I don't deserve this. Look at me. I'm thin, never smoked or drank, exercised, ate right and now I have cancer!!
Yeah and I suppose I deserve this because I'm overweight (and drank and didn't eat right and took those hormone pills so I wouldn't feel like a dried-up old lady and..and..had negative thoughts... )No dear reader, I didn't say any of that, I just mumbled something non-committal, yeah it's unfair.

They didn't have the same wig but a similar one that was nearly my own color (or the color that I like to delude myself into thinking I had) so we both won in the wig game though not in the getting cancer game.

Recently I came across an interesting blog (Kicking cancer's ass: by a young woman diagnosed at 29 with Stage 4 breast cancer. She had her first child when she must have been 16(so much for early childbirth preventing breast cancer). This is why she thinks she has breast cancer.

I have to put my public statement out there about wire bras. Due to the nature of my injury and the physical presence of a scar I know without a doubt that a wire injury from a bra in around 2005 caused the cancer that I am now facing. I know what your saying, it was cheap. No, I got this bra at Neimans. So it was not cheap. I was cut along the side of my left breast. It was a pretty good cut. It ended up healing and there was a scar but nothing major. Just like when you get a good cut anywhere it leaves a scar. This is where the cancer is now. The main area. I have told doctor after doctor this. All they say is there is no proof one way or another. I tell them I am the proof. When I saw the mammogram of my left breast, all you can see is a big black mass. I asked the doctor last time if they can differentiate the scar tissue from the cancer. His answer was NO! Can you believe that? Scar tissue comes up black. Cancer shows as black. Its all together. This is where is started. I want to tell all the women out there that if you get a wire injury from a bra, get it looked at and documented immediately. Sad thing is, I can not go after anyone for liability because the statute is really short. I couldn't even go after the doctors who misdiagnosed me because of the statute. It sucks. I know I would not have had a hard time proving my case. I actually was talking with several lawyers, but by the time they got back with me it was on the edge of the timeline. It wasn't long enough for anyone to gather a proper case together. So I have to just get the word out about this finally. I say I don't know why I am dealing with this, but I do actually. Its because of a wire bra. Just be careful out there ladies!

Three years ago, she was given 6 months to live. She believes she is alive due to her attitude as a fighter. Maybe. She is trying to have implants now but the insurance company is balking at paying for them given that she is Stage 4. As for inflammation being a cause for breast cancer, no connection yet established for breast cancer but it is surprisingly a huge factor in other cancers. See this month's Cure. (
This being almost October in which we will be covered in pink everything, they also feature BREAST CANCER. They have a very thorough article on where treatment for TNBC stands. No surprises for me there as I try to keep up with new literature. But it also detailed which antidepressants interfere with the action of Tamoxifen. Apparently Tamoxifen is converted to its active form by an enzyme that most people have but certain antidepressants inhibit this enzyme (who would have thunk) leaving these women with all their estrogen unblocked to stimulate their estrogen positive tumors. Of course there are plenty of depressed women who take Tamoxifen...


krisa said...

Good Morning Sue
I read your blog every day--you write so very well and I appreciate your candor.
When I was first diagnosed, The Secret was given to me (book and DVD)as if thinking positive thoughts, drinking green tea and laughing would make the cancer disappear.

Teri B. said...

Positive thinking has its place: it can make the individual moments and minutes of living with whatever random crap life throws at you more tolerable. Even, sometimes, perversely funny. I was reading a chick-mag article about women with breast cancer, one of whom had the uncensored thought when seeing dinner arrive, courtesy of a neighbor: "This is the life!" Conversely (or is it the contra-positive?), without positive thinking, even the great things that happen in life can go unsavored.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Positive thinking does have its place and I try to be as positive as possible but I don't think I can think cancer away. Many times people come up to me and tell me that I will beat this 'because I have such a good attitude' and I just smile because they of course mean well. I was in this research study in which it was important to the investigaters that I wasn't depressed. Their subject pool was recently diagnosed cancer patients. Hah! You'd imagine some of them might be depressed. But then they performed the depression screen on me consisting of the single question 'Do you still obtain enjoyment from something in your life?' Well yes I do. 'Well then, you're not depressed.' Don't worry, I won't be mopey on our trip. The kids accuse me of smiling for no reason.
Yeah, I know I've been confusing inverse with converse, with contrapositive, etc in my recent blogs. I'll review logic at some point and correct them all. Still working out our iternary. Solo una settemana!!!! No posso aspettare!

Batty said...

Actually had someone tell me that my negative thoughts caused my cancer and if I stopped taking chemo and started thinking positively I'd magically be cured. Not really friends with her anymore. I saw a show with Lance Armstrong and Elizabeth Edwards. Lance said he never felt depressed & Elizabeth chastised him for giving the false impression that cancer and treatment are easy if you just have the right attitude. She said, "It's just not realistic." Good attitude, even semi-inappropriate humor, (I.e. "Wanna feel me up? Everyone else does.") do tend to make life more enjoyable. I think it normalizes the trials and tribulations of living with the disease, but no amount of happiness is going to cure my cancer.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Hi Kim

I did read Lance's book and he sounded fairly depressed about his situation as it was occurring but that was a long time ago. I guess he forgot. Of course he is all better now whereas Elizabeth is still in battle.
Shame on that person who tried to guilt trip you. I got the same message from my son's grandparents-in-law. They think I shouldn't have poisoned myself and that I should just drink natural juices to keep the cancer at bay.
Thinking of you and Anya, who must be getting stronger every day.


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