Thursday, April 15, 2010


I still have side effects related to cancer.  Just another reminder of the cancer I had.

"Well you are cured now aren't you?"   Is something I hear often. Really? Last I checked there was no cure for any cancer.  No I am not cured.  I am in remission, in 2012 I will be considered cancer free, that will have been 5 years since diagnosis.  I am not cured.  The day there is a cure for my cancer, or any cancer for that matter I will be celebrating.

It seems that people assume that when you are done with cancer treatment you are done with cancer. 
That isn't always the case.  Side effects can linger for months even years after treatment. 

"Well you are done with treatment you are fine now aren't you?"

For the most part I would say yes.  But that is not always the case.

Those of us who have these side effects get used to them.  I have had side effects last longer than treatment.  My neuropathy for example lasted for 20 months, treatment for 14.  Every so often I feel a twinge in my foot.  

Hot flashes are another side effect I have.  I am not going through menopause, it is a side effect of tamoxifen, a cancer fighting drug I am taking until 2013.  I kind of wish I was going through menopause.  I never really wanted to have kids, as a matter of fact when the oncologist said the chemo might put me into early menopause I actually said  SWEET!   I am sure that was not the reaction my oncologist was expecting.

Trying to adjust to this "new normal" has been difficult.  Survivorship has been difficult. It takes a while to get back to how you felt before, or even close to how you felt.

Depression is a struggle for me.  Cancer makes sense to me, in a way, there is a tumor, you remove it, cancer's gone.  Depression, oh well its the serotonin and norepinephrine, in your brain, its a chemical imbalance, it might go away it might not.  Anti depressants work for me.  Its not something you can just "get over."  Some people have it, some people don't.  One of the list of the many side effects on the menu.  Still wishing I could have picked and choosed my side effects.

Because of cancer I am in debt, not as bad as some, worse than others.  Another reason for my depression. 

"Well there is nothing you can do about it so don't worry about it."  is what people tell me.  Ok those damn debt collectors who call expecting something, when I have nothing to give them.  Easier said than done.  When the blinking light on the answering machine reminds me that So and so called from some collection agency and they want their money.  "I want to give you your money I don't have it/"  "Can't you just make a small payment."   Wow what a great idea, I never thought about that.  I am actually being sued by a credit card company for 1400 dollars.   I owe the hospital ten times that amount, they aren't suing me.  

What's in your wallet?  

Uh not much....

Mel is the producer/co-host of The Vic McCarty Show.  Listen Live Monday-Friday 10am-noon on

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