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Being married improves cancer survivorship

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

For all you married folks, there is a new study out showing amazing benefits of being married! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/23/married-cancer-survival-marriage-death_n_3977278.html

Could it be that love is the best medicine?

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 852
Joined: Jun 2013

...heels out lol. I think any kind of meaningful relationship, whether with our kids, family, friends, pets will improve your health. At the same time, a bad relationship can make you sick(er).

After my bad marriage and nasty divorce I had to rearrange everything about myself and the way I think. Took me about 4 years of hard work, hit and miss, learning, but I did become a balanced attractive person who can create and maintain new healthy relationships despite that I got badly burned. This was and still is so important to me that if I had to go back the way I used to be and stay that way, I wouldn't choose that even if I could get my health back in exchange.

Relationships are our greatest investment and resource. 

Laz

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2902
Joined: Jan 2010

I saw a report on the evening news tonight about this.  It seems that married people do fare better when battling cancer.

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 523
Joined: Apr 2009

sometimes the spouse adds more stress......they try the best they can , i guess...... sephie

eihtak
Posts: 840
Joined: Oct 2011

I agree, like everything there are pros and cons. A spouse may????help with driving to appointments, cooking, shopping, cleaning, kids, finances, etc..............or, just be a real addition to the stress at times. I think in a way I was lucky to be hospitalized for a while as I was at my breaking point with my husband (of 30 yrs) and really needed some time away from him. Even 2 yrs out, he just can't relate to what we've gone through and so we seldom discuss issues dealing with anal cancer or recovery. He may try, but....??

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Well, I think the statistic is accuratel having someone to drive you to treatments, bring a glass of water, encourage healthy habits, help with housework, help paying the bills, help getting food in the house, etc.

I believe in marriage, but if any cancer patient has a spouse who is not helpful and makes a life and death situation worse....time to free yourself of that poison. Surviving cancer requires life changes and a toxic spouse has to go!!!

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2902
Joined: Jan 2010

I would agree.  Some marriages are toxic and I can see no way that that kind of relationship can be helpful when one of the spouses is diagnosed with cancer.  Many marriages have ended in divorce after a cancer diagnosis because the one who does not have cancer just can't handle it. 

danker
Posts: 737
Joined: Apr 2012

When the guy told his friend that statistics show that married men live longer than singles, his response was; It just seems longer.  LOL

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

All I can say is that between us we have battled cancer four times in the last five years and we're still here!

eihtak
Posts: 840
Joined: Oct 2011

Sounds like my house. First my husband had a stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. Then I had treatment for Stage3b anal cancer. Then he, a bone marrow transplant for return of blood cancer, then I for breast cancer. All this in the span of less than 4 years!! Although I stated earlier that I feel he does not understand my treatment and recovery, nor can I completely relate to his! I think this game of cancer ping-pong has kept us together as we can relate to the overall trauma of cancer.

Wishing all healthy days ahead..........

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Gee, when I hear stories like yours, I have to wonder about environmental factors. Have you checked that out? Water? Land? Air? Building materials?

Have you read the book, " A Civil Action"? They made a movie out of it. I worked in the next town when it was proven that environmental pollution from discharged water from a manufacturing plant had caused many different cancers in Woburn, Mass. They won the lawsuit, but money is no compensation for the suffering and deaths.

eihtak
Posts: 840
Joined: Oct 2011

Yes, I very much think environment has something to do with cancer. For a while, especially after the loss of my breasts to bc, I was convinced I could not live here. I spent much time recovering three hours away at my dads or brothers. Finally, I have decided that there are some things in my control and some not, and I can not live in a bubble. There is a good chance that whatever caused my cancer was a result of environmental factors many years ago, as I have moved a few times in my life. I eat healthy and hope that that helps to rid my body of free radicals. On one hand it seems we have seen a large number of cancer diagnoses in my area, but there are also many people who have lived here there entire lives, are past 75yrs old and very healthy. One of the biggest health changes I have made is to do what I can without causing undue stress to myself or others, and to trust that God is handling the rest. It is really so much easier to live a relaxed life when you just truely turn your biggest worries over to Him. Have faith!!

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sandysp
Posts: 788
Joined: May 2011

Amen!

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RoseC
Posts: 503
Joined: Jun 2011

Mary, I grew up in Woburn. Not in east Woburn where the wells were but in central Woburn. My girlfriend grew up over the tanneries and later developed breast cancer. Who knows if that was related though - I know others who had breast cancer and had none of the risk factors. I feel so sorry for the families in Woburn because from what I understand it was little children who were most affected.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

It was men, women, and children and was a case very difficult to prove and hard fought. It was the W.B. Grace Company that was dumping chemicals that got into the ground and water. The incidence was widespread. I met the author of the book and have heard the attorney who won this important toxic tort case.

So many people get sick from environmental factors and nobody seems to keep track of cancer clusters. The fact that some people don't die from environmental toxins is very irrelevant. It is the high incidence of cancers after exposure to toxins in certain geographic areas that is relevant. Some people smoke their whole lives and never get sick! Does that mean smoking doesn't cause cancer?? NO. I live downwind of a filthy coal burning plant and the air quality isn't even measured here. The incidence of cancer is very high in this area. I didn't even know there was a coal burning plant until after I bought the plant. My mistake! I am looking to move! Some days, it is hard to breathe!

Yes, I do trust God, but the Lord helps those who help themselves. It is like someone praying to win the lottery when they never buy a ticket.

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RoseC
Posts: 503
Joined: Jun 2011

Hi - It was actually Cyrovac, Inc. and the John J Riley Tannery, which were owned by W.R. Grace and Beatrice Foods. They dumped chemicals in the Aberjona River. Back then it was a much more common practice than it is today. I remember walking by the Aberjona on the way to Bradlees with my girlfriend and looking at the disgusting river. That was back in the mid to late 60's. And it was childhood leukemia that brought the issue to light, that and miscarriages and birth defects. I don't know about any adult cancers, but I surely wouldn't be surprised to know they existed too.

Not saying that environmental factors don't matter, of course they do. What're you gonna do though, except the best you can? If you think you're living in a bad spot, move. I'm not trying to be a wise guy or anything, just that there are so very many things that COULD affect us that one could go nuts trying to figure it all out.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I know your not a wise guy...lol. Yes,, it does take time and effort trying to figure it out. I have been reading and researching a lot lately. What shocks me the most from my research is that our government doesn't protect us better from known toxins that we cannot control. I think that the role of government is primarily to protect publc safety. The poison they put in and on our foods is shocking to me now.

I know we can't control everything, but as cancer patients and survivors we have to educate ourselves. I am convinced that exposure to toxins is the primary cause of cancer.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2902
Joined: Jan 2010

I couldn't agree with you more.  Although there is a lot of evidence that points to anal cancer being HPV-mediated, I can't help but wonder why it is approximately 85% of adults over the age of 50 will be infected with HPV, but only a handful of them in comparison will develop cancer.  There have to be other factors involved and I strongly believe that environmental issues play a huge role. 

I grew up in the Midwest in a highly agricultural area.  I also found out, thanks to the scans I've had because of cancer, that I have had histoplasmosis in the past, which shows up as calcified granuloma in my lungs.  While this is caused by spores that live in the soil and are stirred up when the fields are cultivated and not by toxins, I believe the same thing happens when the chemicals that are put into the soil to grow crops are stirred up.  We are breathing that crap.  Down the road a few miles from where I lived are two very large soybean processing plants.  One of them has an elevated highway that runs through the middle of it from which you can see the tops of the various buildings of the plant.  The "crud" that this plant has released into the air has settled on the tops of those buildings.  We are breathing that crap too.  It is quite scary and God only knows what it's doing to us.  I truly believe it's killing us, along with lots of other things.   

islandgirlculebra's picture
islandgirlculebra
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2012

Your last three sentences say it all! Thank you for reminding me of that! "Turning your biggest worries over to Him"..... Awesome!

 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Yes, eihtak, I do have great faith. I turned my life over to him long ago, but that doesn't mean I allow myself to be poisoned if I can help it. God wants us to love ourselves and stay out of harms way.

I do think it is important to avoid stress and I am sure trying to do that.

LaCh
Posts: 512
Joined: Dec 2012

I'm single, not looking, and cured. No one helped during treatments; I got through it alone.  I don't recommend it, but neither do I not recommend it. You do what you need to do with whatever situation you have. Looking for cause and effect, the "I'm ok because [whatever--I'm married, single, eat meat, don't eat meat, am old, young--whatever] will only go so far. Sometimes, although you might want to know the whys of the thing, or feel that you're in an advantageous situaion because you're married (or single) you can't know, and those ruminations are simpy an excercise in rationalization.  All you can do is deal with whatever problem is placed before you, and move through it and if you're lucky, past it, with someone at your side, with no one at your side, with whatever situation you're in. Everybody "gets" something, the only question is how one deals with it; how one comports onself during it.  There're no safety nets (diet, life style, marital status) and unfortunately, often, no answers.  To seek them might not be the best expenditure of time. This is my opinion. 

RoseC's picture
RoseC
Posts: 503
Joined: Jun 2011

Hi LaCh - I always like to read your inputs. Hope you are doing well.

LaCh
Posts: 512
Joined: Dec 2012

Hey RoseC,

That's so kind, thanks for saying so. I'm ok, dealing with several treatment related problems but otherwise ok. And you? How are you?

eihtak
Posts: 840
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi, nice to hear from you. Its as though you overheard me today......just this afternoon when someone who I didn't feel like having a long involved conversation with asked how I ever handled such a rough few years I said almost exactly as you worded it,"you do what you need to do with whatever situation you have" but I said, "you're dealt."

Stay well.

 

LaCh
Posts: 512
Joined: Dec 2012

That's really nice, thank you, I sincerely appreciate your warm welcome. I made several comments during treatments that weren't well received and got flak for them and it wore thin after a while, so I'm grateful for the dissenting voices. So really, my sincere thanks to you and to RoseC. I haven't been logging on lately and probably won't very much, since my reason for joining in the first place was for information during treatments, and those are over.  I'm always eager to help other people, whatever the situation or need, but there are more than enough people on this forum to do that and one more isn't necessary. As I always said, once it's  (the cancer) is in the rear view mirror, I'm driving away, and it is and I have (dropping a clanging hubcap and various other parts along the way in the form of treatment side effects, but it's too late to change that, so I keep on driving.) I logged on yesterday on a whim, just a spur of the moment thing. I probably should clarify something about what I said though. Of course, we all have to play the cards that we're dealt, with whatever advantages or disadvantages we feel that we have, and try to do it with as much grace and consideration for others as possible, and that's true for whatever we encounter in life, not just cancer. But being single is a choice I made, it isn't a situation that I'm making the best of.  Being alone presented some problems during treatments that I wouldn't have had if there'd been someone here with me, (and it also had some very real advantages) but at no point did I wish that I were married or even that there was anyone here.  Being single isn't one of those things that I deal with as best I can. Being single is what I chose and continue to choose because it's what I want, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Inconvenient? Occasionally. But convenience isn't a real good reason to be in a relationship.  For those who desire marriage or an intimate relationship and aren't in one, and who also end up with cancer or some other challenge, I think that those stats (marriage=better outcome) can have a negative affect on mood, expectation, and outcome, which was why I posted my comment yesterday. Ok, stats say [fill in the blank]...  but I'm also here to say that stats don't say everything about everybody and that if you're not not married or in a relationship and end up with a tumor in your butt, you can also end up with a cure. I'll also say that luck, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but unlike beauty, the beholder is you. I consider myself to have had a ridiculously lucky life. I am very lucky. Other people  might look at the cirsumstances of my life over the last 60 years (and I'm not even including cancer) and say, "Wow, you've had some tough circumstances." So who gets to decide? I do. I have been crazy lucky and I really don't know why some people are and some people aren't, because there really are some very unlucky people in this world; the poor, the indigent, the voiceless, people in third world countries, oppressive countries...the list is very very long. But me? Jeeze, I've been crazy lucky. So someone told me the other day, "Some people wouldn't see it like that, they'd say you haven't been so lucky," and my response was, "They aren't the one's who can make that determination. That'd be like me saying 'I'm very content,' and them saying 'No, you're not.'"  So luck and contentment are subjective determinations, and the only ones--the only one-- who determines those things is the person who bears those labels.  Me. You. Everybody decides for him or herself.  Be well eihtak and thanks again for your warm words of welcome.

eihtak
Posts: 840
Joined: Oct 2011

I'm glad you had the whim to log on, your post was well timed. As a breast cancer survivor, (along with anal ca), I have mixed feelings about all the pink this month and this last post was just perfect for me. Thanks.......enjoy the fall season, hope its lovely where you are.

LaCh
Posts: 512
Joined: Dec 2012

wow. well, if I made a difference, a positive difference to someone, somewhere, that makes my day and I mean that in all seriousness.  These are things that mean the most to me in life, touching another human being in a positive way.  So I do thank you for that. My take on things is that we all get something, we all have pain and burdens and loss.  The thing that defines you has more to do with how you respond to those things, rather than what those things are.  These days, it's very hard to find someone who hasn't had cancer or doesn't have an immediate family member who has had cancer, but the ones that stick in your mind are those who faced it with courage and dignity and don't lose their concern for other people, despite the situation that they were dealing with. Believe me, I'm no saint, and these are the goals that I set for myself every day, but do I meet them? Hell no. Not every day and not always, but I keep trying.  There's someone who lives around the corner from me, a young girl in her 20s. She's confined to a wheelchair from transverse myelitis, one day she's living her life, the next day she has some strange twinges and fast forward a few years and she's completely paralyzed. Young girl, pretty, smart, just completed her masters degree and this is her life. But do you know what stands out about her the most (to me). She's just so damned nice.  I've seen her deal with a few things that I would have lost my temper over, but she just takes it in stride. Now THAT'S something I admire. To me, that's something to emulate.  So, at least to me, what defines her isn't the fact that she's paralyzed and will be for life, but that she's smart and nice and patient and kind. Because you can't always choose what circumstances you're dealt, but you sure can choose how to respond to them.  I'll tell you something else; cancer is a bad diagnosis to get, but I don't call myself a cancer survivor any more than I call myself a flu survivor. Flu kills people too, but you get it, you take care of it and you recover from it or you don't, but my illnesses and my experiences don't define me.  If anything in the physical life that I now have defines me, it's what kind of person I am; am I nice, not so nice, patient, not so patient; that sort of thing. It's who I am. Not what disease I had.  That's why I don't hang out here much; This isn't who I am, it's something that I had. Like the flu.  Anyway, I do sincerely thank you for telling me that I said something that helped you in some way; hearing that's like gold; a real treasure. 

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 523
Joined: Apr 2009

lach,  you express yourself so well..... i do appreciate every word that you say..... check in again after a while..... it helps......your thoughts made me look at how fortunate i am..... i know that it could be soooooo much worse.......  thanks.....sephie

LaCh
Posts: 512
Joined: Dec 2012

Thanks Sephie, really, I sincerely thank you.  I don't pontificate on what others should do, or how others should feel, or at least I try not to (I suppose I succeed sometimes and fail sometimes, but I try not to). My take on things is solely my own and it would be a bit arrogant of me to tell someone else how they should feel or how they ought to view things. This is just what I do; it works for me and it feels right for me, but that's just me.  I'm keenly aware of how good I have it, and how so many people don't.  Why that is, I have no idea (but it's not for lack of trying to understand how that works).  Just like no one can look at my life, that might not seem all that great to someone else, and tell me, "No, you're not content," when I say that I am, I can't (or shouldn't) tell anyone else, "Hey, you know what, your life could be worse." Those are assessments that only the person can make for him or herself, but I do think that a broader view can be useful.  Everybody has more than someone else, more money, more intelligence, more health, more patience, more opportuity. Everybody also has less of those things; there are people who have less than me and people who have more, whatever measure you use.  But life might not be all that enviable to someone else, by my own measure, as I said, I've been stupidly, crazily lucky and I have no idea why.  Maybe one day I'll figure it out, but as of today, I have no clue. But I'm glad for it : ) I feel lucky that I'm so lucky.

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