Everyday there are a number of families that experience those death-gripping words of “no hope” given by a qualified medical practitioner. Cancer. You have just been given the diagnosis of a terminally dreaded disease…cancer. There is no hope of recovery, yet you are given several options by your oncologist. The first option could be chemotherapy, but that is not guaranteed and perhaps that treatment may be too severe. You will need to listen to more details about what that will involve. The second option could be radiation. The doctor seems to think that may be somewhat helpful, but still gives you no more hope of recovery, just another option. And the downside to radiation is that it could destroy surrounding healthy cells while it destroys all that gets in its path to attack the cancer cells. It doesn’t matter what form of cancer you may have; unless the tumor growth can be easily removed with chances of complete recovery, the options are difficult and confusing. From your primary care physician to the oncologist, you begin your search for what can save your life, based on the information that these experts can offer. There is still hopelessness, because these options do not give you any chance for optimal survival. How do you take this information and process it to make the proper choices? Your life has value, and it seems that you may be at the end of the road. No one can give you hope to control a death sentence.
This may be an extreme example; however, it is one that someone hears everyday. In fact, in 1990 with over two million deaths in the United States, and heart disease being the number one killer, cancer deaths were second with 505,322 reported cases (Dorgan 27). And these were the very words my family heard when my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma and an inoperable brain tumor: “no hope” for survival. Dad had six to eight months to live and radiation was all they offered with no guarantees. I relied on the information that was given to me to make all of Dad’s decisions because he was no longer capable of speaking for himself. His life was now in my hands, the very hands he was a part of creating fifty years ago. There was no chance for survival and, because he was eighty two years old, the odds were even more against him based on what his team of doctors thought necessary to do for an elderly, white male with terminal brain cancer. This is where I began my mission to uncover what I found to be the most startling facts about recovering from cancer. The real fact is: you don’t have to die from cancer.