What Cancer Takes Away

Poet and cancer survivor Anne Boyer writes a brilliant essay about her treatment experience for triple negative breast cancer — the same one my mom is battling.

The psychosocial side of cancer treatment requires extra attention because the pain alone from treatment can evict one’s sense of livelihood as Boyer accurately describes. The caretaker and hospital can make or break this narrative (which I’m learning everyday). I think integrated medicine needs greater attention in our healthcare system so that we can reduce the suffering from treatment. Nonetheless, better treatment methods are needed than relying on the brutal course of chemo, surgery, and radiation to treat complex cancers.

New Yorker article

During treatment, you must have a desire to live, but it is also necessary to believe that you are a person worth keeping alive. Cancer requires painful, expensive, environmentally harmful, extractive medicine. My desire to survive means that I still can’t bring myself to unravel survival’s ethics.