Treatment, cancer, and sugar
By now, most of you know that I am a cancer survivor. I have been in remission for 18 months now, but due to the advancement of my disease (Stage 4) my doctors would like me to stay on “maintenance treatment.” This means that every three weeks I am back in the treatment room, feet propped up in my chemo chair.
This is not my favorite place on the planet. But honestly, and this may sound a little crazy, I get a big dose of grateful every time alone with the drugs. I am grateful that I am still here, grateful that I get to watch my daughter grow, and grateful for the support that I have been given through the whole dang thing. It’s often referred to as a cancer journey, and that is incredibly true.
I am also annoyed. As I look around the treatment room, I see candy dishes, bags and bags of fast food, and even route 44 Sonic drinks. Let’s be real here. These things aren’t good for those healthy among us, and yet here, in a treatment room, they are the norm.
I’m sick of it.
I’m sick of what is not being said. I am sick of the knowledge not being shared. On occasion I see the loved one that honestly thinks they are doing the right thing when they bring in the egg white bagel sandwich with baked chips and a large diet coke. There are mini snickers on the nurses counter and meal replacement shakes (with the three ingredients after water being corn syrup, sugar, and vegetable oil) right next to them. It’s truly amazing the gobs and gobs of fruit juice and crackers consumed around me.
This is all SUGAR people, and we cancer patients are not being told to stay away from the stuff! Heck, from all obvious angles, we are being encouraged to consume it!
Let me go a little further.
Every six months I have to get a PET CT scan to look for any new or re-occurrence of cancer. The whole processes stresses me to the core, but let me tell you a little about the routine.
I am told to fast for 12 hours; dinner the night before should consist of no sugar or carbs, heavy on the protein.
After check-in the fun begins. I get called back for my injection, my power port is not accessed for this 🙁 and that syringe is full of radioactive glucose. Yup. Radioactive. Sugar.
Why glucose? Cancer loves the sugar stuff and will light up like a Christmas Tree when they stick me in the machine.
After the injection, I am placed in a tiny room, alone, to ponder life for about an hour. That gives the liquid time to fully saturate my body. After the timer dings, I get to hop into a tiny tube in my massive hospital gown.
The tube part doesn’t take long, and then I’m off to worry about the results for the next 24-48 hours until I hear from my doctor or nurse. The waiting is the hardest part. I’m incredibly impatient – I call as soon as that 24 hour mark hits, and pester and pester until I get those results. Then I know that I have made it another chunk of time. I know it means that I will get that much more time.
So lets think about this, and lets try not to get upset, or frustrated, or angry. In effort to see the cancer in the scan, science has found the best thing to do is FEED IT. What is Cancer’s favorite fuel?
Why in the world then, are we patients not being told to stay as far away from the stuff as possible? Instead, we are only told to steer clear of sugar and carbs just before a scan.
Why are we not being told that cancer loves any and all sugar? Sugar is sugar! Be it fake, natural, naturally derived, or whatever else. Sugar is sugar, honey is sugar, fruit is mainly sugar, starches and grains are also sugar!
I have yet to have an oncologist tell me that diet matters. Yet, I know they have to be out there…
Believe it or not, I have been told that “these people” meaning cancer people, my people, don’t want to change their diets – it would just be too hard.
I have a very hard time believing that.
Everyone in this room is a fighter. Most of these folks have seen multiple doctors, shoved in countless tubes, have been treated like pin cushions and guinea pigs, and watched their reflection age like something out of a movie. At least give them the knowledge and the choice.
Cancer patients, their friends, and their families need to know, and we need to tell them. There is more they can do for themselves and their loved ones than just get chemo and pray.