The cancer fairy

I was talking to a friend last week. She’s just had the shocking diagnosis of DVT. Completely out of nowhere. She hasn’t been travelling, she doesn’t smoke. She’s not overweight. She’s not pregnant. No recent surgery. And while she does have a sedentary job, she also works out at the gym. And the thrombosis is a huge one. All the way from her ankle to the top of her calf. The warning signs… just a sore leg she thought she must have injured in some way.

And so many of the people around her are saying ‘poor you’, ‘how unlucky’. Just hearing these words can certainly make you feel that way, can’t it. But she doesn’t accept that. And challenges that response every time it’s dished out. Because she’s feeling very lucky indeed. Lucky that it was found. ‘Dodged a bullet’ she says. Isn’t it amazing how two people can view the same thing in such different ways. I guess it all depends on your life experience. And whether you’re a glass half empty or half full kind of person.

We spent half an hour talking. Apparently they are doing tests to determine if there are some biochemical factors involved. A blood clotting disorder that would pre-dispose her to such a situation. And it’s possible. Especially with a family history of early deaths due to heart attack. But if the tests come back negative, then the next move is to go back through her history, back through her life looking for reasons why the DVT occurred in the first place. In order to prevent it from ever occurring again.

And that insight really hit me. Because not once in the whole of my cancer experience did anyone ever suggest I look at what might have allowed the cancer to develop. My friend just couldn’t believe it. ‘What do they think causes cancer?’, she asked, ‘the cancer fairy?’.

And it’s true, isn’t it. Something allows these cancers to develop. Something triggers their growth. But many people still don’t realise prolonged stress compromises our immune function. Emotional stress, chemical stress, physical stress, mental stress, electro-magnetic stress. Maybe a combination. And this is where we must look. Back tracking over our lives to uncover the stress and then take action to prevent it from ever happening again.

There’s a doctor I know of who views himself like a medical detective. And his view on cancer is refreshing. Because he makes the observation that the diagnosis of cancer is better than a sudden heart attack. Heart attacks so often come without warning, don’t they, and can take your life in an instant. But with cancer he knows you have time on your side. Time to uncover the reasons that contributed to the cancer in the first place. And time to do something about them to prevent it from ever happening again…

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