Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Am I terminal???

One of the members at Curves in Fort Erie, where my Mom is a regular attendee, recently decided to have a fundraiser to raise money for breast cancer research. This is the write-up in the Grimsby Lincoln News about the event:

Fort Erie resident Pauline Wilson got a manicure from aesthetician Kadie Lidbetter at a fundraiser at Curves last Saturday. Janice Rivest of Stevensville is a member at Curves on Garrison Rd. and her daughter, Christine Lynds, has Stage 4 terminal breast cancer. Curves offered free manicures, massages and makeovers, with all donations going toward Lynds' cancer treatment.

My poor Mom was mortified that they listed me as ‘terminal’. It made me think about the meaning of the word and how I felt about it.

Cancer has a whole language of its own. Those of us who have been through the ranks throw around terms and sometimes forget that others aren't as immersed in the cancer world as we are.
It’s even confusing for those of us who are in the midst of it: someone once told me about a woman in a support group for metastatic patients who asked if she was still a ‘survivor’ even though it came back.

For the record, I think of myself as ‘incurable’, not ‘terminal’. I also think of myself as a ‘survivor’. Here are some definitions of cancer terms, some that I took from the dictionary and some are my own interpretation. There are hundreds (probably more like thousands) of cancer terms, so I only listed some of those that apply to my own situation.

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