With the Relay for Life fast approaching I want everyone to be reminded that although the money being raised is going to a very worthy cause and will be used for the already overpriced but needed drugs used in the treatment of cancer, that as a community we need to start putting our money, time and attention into prevention and local cancer initiatives. We have become a society of crisis intervention rather than of prevention and we need to take steps to prevent illness in the first place. Doctors work with the sick and not the healthy, we scan after the illness presents itself instead of pre-screening to catch the disease in it’s early stages, and we look and pay for cures for illnesses rather than applying those funds to preventing the disease. More physicians should be trained in preventative medicine and nutrition and there should be required nutrition classes in schools starting at an early age. I would much rather pay my physician for keeping me well instead of making me well. Children should be allowed to have a bottle of water at their desks and be taught to appreciate the benefits of water and proper nutrition. How many people would be spared the battle of cancer and other life-threatening diseases if the majority of money donated could go to prevention, pre-screening and to educating people in the benefits of proper nutrition.
I followed a life-style conducive to cancer; I “was” a smoker and I enjoyed a high-fat, high protein, low fiber diet and I drank very little water and cancer hit me hard. Armed with trust in my doctors, a positive attitude, prayers from the community, the help of good friends and family, a balance of holistic and traditional medicines and a change in diet I survived and was cured. I was given 2 months to live and that was 3 years ago (as of April 18, 2006).
I suspect we know enough about cancer, diabetes, and heart disease to understand that proper nutrition can make a huge difference in controlling these life-threatening diseases. So my question is, have we made appropriate changes to our lifestyles to prevent these diseases and can we make a difference in our very own community. If nothing else than to provide support and someone to talk to when the news hits like a ton of bricks.
It is pretty much guaranteed that all of us have been or will be affected by cancer in our lifetime and if we continue as we have been with no changes, it will only get worse. When you go through life threatening experiences, you make many promises just so that you can live and my promise was to help others going through cancer and to try and make changes to battle this disease. Well, it is time to make good on those promises and I would like to encourage the leader’s of our community, the doctors in our midst, the teachers of our children and the guy next door to help. If you are interested in getting together to talk about what we can do within our own community to support those with cancer as well as to concentrate on prevention, please give me a call.
Many people don’t realize that there are over 200 cancer agencies and societies across Canada. What would this picture look like if all the money were to go into one place, would we maybe not see a cure for cancer already. Some 80 percent of cancer dollars go to treatment, the rest to Prevention. But “they” say there is no money in Prevention - but their certainly is in Treatment. The one drug they gave me - oxaliplatin, costs our health care system $3,000.00 a pop. Just the pump alone that infused further chemo drugs into me at home, costs $7,000.00 One lady I met in the chemo room of the hospital said that her drugs cost a total of $50,000.00. And we in Canada are the lucky ones - a friend of ours going through Prostate Cancer in the United States will be paying $100,000.00 for his treatment and like many, many others in the U.S. they couldn't afford medical insurance and this amount will come out-of-pocket for them.
I would like to see Community Cancer Societies formed and working hand in hand with the physicians to be able to approach patients upon diagnosis. Because we live in a rural community just the travel back and forth for treatments is costly. I spent over $15,000 on out-of-pocket expenses alone which included prescriptions, gas, food, motels, etc. I heard from no agency or society when I was diagnosed, nor did I really know what to do or where to go for information other than my own physician, (who I thank God for everyday that they were so supportive). I wanted to talk to someone that had gone through what I was going to go through, but I had no one to call but a few friends that lived down in the States. A Community Society could possibly help patients find what it is that they need whether it be financial help, a shoulder to lean on or even just someone to help fill out forms. I would like to see some of our service clubs possibly put their funds or volunteering to provide transportation for people needing to go out of town for their treatments. I could not have physically taken a bus back and forth. I do not know how people do it without support from friends and family in small rural communities such as mine.
Although the journey was not an easy one there are days I question why it was that I was spared and as I have said before, I truly believe that it was to give others hope, to share my experience and to let people know that miracles really do happen every day – some days we just have to look a little harder for them and in the case of prevention - "work" a little harder for them..
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
it's about learning to dance in the rain