Tuesday, September 27, 2005

More Lance Backlash...it's not about the juice...

I stumbled upon this excellent blog called Cancer News Watch this morning as I procrastinated from getting my butt to practice, and I wanted to share the link as well as an incredibly thought-provoking Post about Lance Armstrong and why he is not necessarily fit to be the "poster boy" for cancer survival. This has nothing to do with his supposed (and completely unconfirmed) use of athletic performance-enhancers and everything to do with the type of cancer that he survived (testicular, which is one of the most curable cancers known to man) and his access to the state of the art of state of the art medical care.

It's funny - I have ALWAYS thought this about the Lance Armstrong mythology, especially when people kept dropping off copies of "It's Not About the Bike" and expecting me to get inspired to open my own can of WHOOP-ASS on the beast. I appreciated the thought, I really and truly did. But truth be told, I never identified with Lance because while testicular cancer is considered completely curable, breast cancer is not (even if one survives long term). To illustrate, one need only look to The Husband, who is a testicular cancer survivor. He sometimes even FORGETS that he is a cancer survivor. So, all else being equal, and assuming that you don't KNOW my husband and his ability to compartmentalize and rationalize, that is pretty telling...

Unless you've been living in a cave (and some of you have, or at least wish to, right?) you must have seen enough pink in store windows and enough advertisements featuring older women wearing bandannas to know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And even though I HATE being beaten over the head with pink, pink, pink and more pink, and I generally shun all the majorly folksy breast cancer events because I don't feel particularly sisterly about being a member of this "sisterhood", I do think it would be interesting to share some information here over the course of October about breast cancer, and perhaps cancer in general. In my own style. So, don't expect big hugs....although I might surprise you.



Anonymous said...

i defintely feel the lance backlash and have many of my own opinions as a partner caregiver to someone with cancer.

but i have to make sure you know that armstrong's cancer was actually very advanced and which had metastasized and spread to his lungs and brain.

doctors told him at first his chance of survival was about 50% (which is not so great to begin with) but that after he had recovered that the odds were much much smaller (3-4%).

Cary said...

Hi Lauren,

I just wanted to say thanks for noticing my site :) I appreciate your kind words about my Lance Armstrong post...I am actually a big fan of the man himself, but sorely disappointed by the way the mainstream media shoves his mythology down our throats.

It seems to me there is a time & place for feel-good cancer stories, but not to the point where it sugar-coats the public's understanding of just how dire a disease cancer still is.

BTW, great blog! My wife and I do not specifically practice yoga, but we practice two hours of Qigong every day, and it has been a life (and sanity) saver.


Cary said...

Hi Anonymous : ) I haven't heard that statistic before, but it doesn't really change the fact that Mr. Armstrong survived one of the few cancers that is currently considered curable even in it's advanced stages. While I would argue that that hardly makes him a miracle, it certainly makes him one of the lucky few.

The bigger story here, though, is the mainstream media's insistence on showering us with feel-good cancer stories, while the true realities of what it's like to live with cancer go untouched because they are apparently just too unpleasant to talk about.

I think this does a horrible disservice to the public's understanding of where we stand in the "War on Cancer."

Just my 2 cents, though, and from one caregiver to another – hang in there. I know it's a tough road...ours is far from over.

Susan said...

I read a number of different blogs,
it's changing communication in a permenant, massive way. The power is
shifting from 'dead tree' media to the people. It's the only way things
are going to change.

From my friend who emailed me today....
I liked it.

Anonymous said...

cary -- absolutely. i could not agree more re: the war on cancer rhetoric. and the fact that many many people still die of a disease that many other people believe can be "beaten" with a good attitude and sunny disposition.

the reason i brought up the statistic is not that i think armstrong should or should not be the posterboy but rather because of yogachickie's statement that: "But truth be told, I never identified with Lance because while testicular cancer is considered completely curable, breast cancer is not (even if one survives long term)."

while armstrong did have a highly curable kind of cancer, his was not the run-of-the mill 95% survival rate. and even if it was -- i would find it hard to believe that the problem many are having is not that he survived cancer, no matter how he did it and what kind he had, but rather the misinformation/misunderstanding that the armstrong posterperson for cancer might perpetuate.

yoga chickie said...

I have known other testicular cancer survivors who had mets when their cancer was discovered. Every one of them is alive except for Sean Kimerling, the sports reporter, who died a month after being diagnosed.

A friend of mine who had testicular when he was in college told me that when his was discovered, it was all over his body, but as soon as the primary cancer was removed, the mets began to necrotize. Chemo did the rest of the job. He is now close to 40.


Anonymous said...

My husband, YC's dad, has lung cancer. He is doing very well, however, so far and feeling fine - on a new pill that works on a small minority of people. I wish he had been given the odds of 50% survival. I have learned that is actually not bad at all. None of us has 100% odds of survival. We could all be hit by a truck, etc., etc. But, if you want to face a really dire thought, try imagining getting a lung cancer diagnosis in an advanced stage, the way most people are diagnosed, and as a nonsmoker. Then you ask your doctor to please not tell you the odds, you live life day by day in the present, and you hope to defy the awesome odds. It happens. Cancer is not easy.

I hope all of you think positive thoughts and say whatever prayers you can for all of those fighting any and all forms of cancer.


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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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