Admittedly it’s been about 20 years since I left University and haven’t really done any study or research since then. I’m guessing that looking up how to bake an easy chocolate cake recipe on the internet isn’t exactly research. Like most of us, we don’t talk Oncologist speak, its a completely different language that is full of huge words that sound to me mostly harsh and terminal. Once I heard the words Grade 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma I knew that I was way out of my language league. I had studied Fine Art at University and I was more used to discussing the exstistential elements of art and its context. Onco speak was so daunting and final, there is no room for contemplation or personal interpretation.
The day I discovered Google Scholar I got my game on. The note pad was ready, the pencils were sharpened, the ginger and turmeric tea was at hand. I was in my PJ’s and I was ready to kick some scholary arse. I found myself reading research paper after research paper trying desperately to interpret language that was beyond me. The funny thing is I managed in my own inept way to scour across papers and seemingly made some sense out of it all. It was more gut feeling than intellect. I spread myself around the sites like a greedy cookie monster. One site wasn’t enough, multiple pages and research articles opened all at once, cross checking info on my iPad and iPhone simultaneously. I needed more devices.
Knowledge was king and I was hungry for more. Im not so sure I was ingesting the right amount of quality nutrients but I was getting something. This was junk food for the mind. I felt inspired and motivated. That was the day that I swore off sugar as an evil product made by huge multinationals who were out to make big bucks and poison us at the same time. I discovered articles on assassinated professors who had come close to simple cancer cures that couldn’t be patented, there was so much to read, the concept of cancer as a business was starting to seem very real to me. That is when I declared that I would stick to an alkaline diet. I was going to kill this fungus inside me, no more sugar, no more acid causing foods or drinks, I was going to be the king of my own domain and re set my path to healing. I was knee deep in conspiracy theories, this was so much fun. I was on the edge of my sofa. Chemotherapy was going to kill me, surgery was going to spread the cancer further, radiation would give me new cancers, holy shit I was l wadding through a pool of hot steaming crap and I couldn’t see a way of getting out of it.
Anyone who knows me knows all too well that I’m a rebel at heart, I like to question, I don’t like being told what to do. This was going to get interesting, I was ready to fight every oncologist and pummel them with my questions and theories, I was armed with little knowledge and god knows this can be most dangerous.
I took my note book with me to my Medical Oncologist appointment (the chemo doctor) and fired away. Will the Chemotherapy cause new cancers? Will it damage my organs? Is this the worlds best practice for treatment? How many of your patients have declined treatments and what was there outcome? What is a hidden cancer? Do you know if the cancer has spread or are you guessing? Is it in my big toe as well as my breast? Why don’t we remove the cancerous breast first? I went on and on. Suffice to say that this $565 appointment wasn’t going too well. The Doctor had her back up, I was that pain in the arse patient that thinks they know everything and was questioning her extensive knowledge, expertise and experience. She was ‘patient’ at first but soon realised that I was resisting treatment and perhaps resisting the idea that me, yes me, had Breast Cancer.
Patient: adjective. Able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. “be patient, your time will come” synonyms: forbearing, uncomplaining, tolerant, long-suffering, resigned, stoical.
I walked out of that appointment humming Bowie’s classic 1974 track:
Do do do do do do do do, Rebel rebel, you’ve torn your dress, rebel rebel your face is a mess