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On Still Being Cancer-Free and Beating COVID-19 Together

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There is a lot going on in the world right now. It is truly heartbreaking to hear the news every day, so today I choose to focus on something I can be grateful for and hope that someone can benefit from my perspective.

Today I found out I am still cancer-free. Five-and-a-half  years ago they removed a metastatic breast cancer nodule from my lung. The diagnosis of metastatic cancer led me on a journey I never expected. I have learned so much along the way, but I will never know everything or have all the answers.

I know I am not dying from cancer. I also know that despite my best efforts I am living with an aggressive chronic disease. I have explored and experienced the world of alternative medicine. I have been forced to navigate the frustrating healthcare system and battle with health insurance. I have learned to believe in methods science doesn’t support, but also appreciate the advancements and treatments science has to offer. I have questioned main stream medicine, Big Pharma and sometimes gone against the advice of doctors.

I believe we are our best advocates. I believe people do heal themselves in ways that science cannot explain. I believe in hope, but I also believe in realism. If science offers a treatment option that pretty much guarantees success you better take it. But sometimes science doesn’t have good answers. That is why people explore the alternatives and sometimes they find success. Sometimes. I certainly have experience in this area but I am very grounded in reality.

I guess I’m writing this because I do have a different perspective than many when it comes to health. Our communities, our country and the world have been fighting a virus for too long. The battle against this virus has us fighting amongst each other.

We are not in this on our own. We are in this together.

I’ve listened. I’ve read. I’ve researched. I’ve definitely watched too much news. But the bottom line for me is the choices I make affect the people around me, the people in my community and the people working to keep us safe and healthy.

When I chose to pursue alternative therapies for cancer, that decision affected my health only. If I choose to go out in public when I’m coughing and sneezing I am potentially affecting the health of others.

The pandemic has affected every area of our lives. We really don’t know the long-term effects on all of our school children. I know when the vaccine came out and things started to settle down we were all so happy to start getting back to normal. But the virus had other plans. I did not hesitate to get the vaccine. The risk to myself seemed minimal compared to the effects the pandemic was having on our kids, our healthcare workers, our economy and our mental health.

That’s how I see it. It’s not just about me. If I choose not to be vaccinated then I should also choose not to put other people at risk. We have a choice in where we go, who we spend time with and how we protect ourselves. Risk versus benefit.

I know there are vastly different opinions on the subject of COVID-19 and that’s OK. If you take anything from this, I hope it’s that we don’t have to agree but we should all want what’s in the best interest for each other. Look beyond the hype, the angry rhetoric, and the politics, and choose what’s in your heart.

Photo submitted by contributor.

Originally published: September 21, 2021
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