Today marks a new start for two online cancer forums. Real Cancer, Real Lives has moved to a biweekly schedule, due to recent lack of submissions. Minerva's hosting this week's carnival. Please check it out, and consider writing or hosting if you have anything to say on the matter.
Also, today marks the beta site launch of BlogHer, a community network of women bloggers from all around the globe. As a Health and Wellness contributing editor, I hope to bring the issues that cancer survivors and their caregivers face, as well as the sacrifices that they make, to a greater audience. Increasing (and sometimes correcting) public knowledge and perceptions about cancer has become greatly important to me. Sometimes, it's the only way that I can make sense out of what's happened.
Finally, I have gotten around to reading Lance Armstrong's biography, "It's not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life." And I can honestly say that I'm not that impressed. Yes, he had advanced cancer and a long, hard slog to overcome it. He's done a lot to raise awareness through his philanthropic organization, and has even spoken to Congress about how the needs of cancer patients and survivors could be better met. He is to be commended for this. But in reading this book, I see example upon example of why he shouldn't be held up as the golden example of young cancer survivorship. Despite detecting abnormal medical signals six months before he finally saw a doctor, he waited until he could barely sit on his bike and was coughing up blood until he sought treatment. At the time of diagnosis, he was making $2 million/year and had a lovely home and various accoutrements that the average person just doesn't have. He had doctors fighting over who got to treat him. After his initial surgery, Lance was rude to his nurses and didn't listen to his doctors' advice (personal sidenote to Mr. Armstong: If you insist upon riding a bike when your red cell count is only 7,000, you're going to pass out on the side of the road. It doesn't matter how strong your muscles are, if there aren't any red cells to transport the oxygen to them, you're gonna pass out! Listen to your doctors, dammit, and REST!)
I'm not even finished with the book yet and it's already made me more determined than ever to put the "real story" out there. Every cancer patient's story is different...but can a millionaire professional athlete who doesn't listen to his docs be the best spokesperson for the young adult cancer experience? I really don't think so...
posted by amanda @ 10:08 AM