My Little Bs Have the Big C

A Breast Cancer Blog For Young Women

I Guess It’s My Fault

20 Comments

This picture just appeared on my facebook feed from a site that talks about healthy and natural alternatives to cancer treatment and about a healthy lifestyle and it pissed me off!!!!

healthyReally, there is steam coming out of my ears over here and I promise you, it’s not a hot flash!

What does this mean?  Really?  That anyone who is truly healthy obtains a “get out of jail free” cancer card?  That poor choices in health are to blame for cancer?

I am not an unhealthy person.  And while I might not be the healthiest on earth (I don’t love exercise but I move a lot, take the stairs in the subway, etc…) I eat well and try to take care of my body.  I try to eat organic and antibiotic free food as much as possible and avoid prepackaged crap but everything organic is tough on the wallet.  But I do my best.  I also enjoy the occasional pastry, ice cream cone, bag of peanut M&Ms, glass of wine and quesadilla.  This does not make me an unhealthy person, per se, but eating less of these things would be better, no doubt.

While our lifestyle choices can contribute to our chances of developing breast cancer like smoking, excessive drinking and being overweight, it does not guarantee that it will happen.  Just like having kale smoothies for breakfast every day, exercising six days a week and eating only non-GMO, antibiotic free, organic, free range, grass fed, fair trade rice cakes will guarantee that you won’t.

Genetics plays a role in developing cancer.  So does terrible luck.  For me, I think it’s both.

But this little picture, with little peach roses all over insinuates that I got my cancer because of ME.  Because of my lifestyle choices.  I did this to myself.

I guess I should have eaten less chocolate chip cookies, had one less slice of pizza, walked that extra mile.  Then this would have never happened to me.  I guess it’s my fault.

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20 thoughts on “I Guess It’s My Fault

  1. Steam coming out here, too! Smug, judgemental bullshit from people who don’t know any better makes me seethe.

    I probably don’t count as your target audience because I’m now in my early 50s, but I was 45 when I was diagnosed with oestrogen positive breast cancer. And surprisingly, smoking is protective against oestrogen breast cancer, because it kills off oestrogen; the cancer I didn’t know was brewing merrily away in my left boob was given a massive shot of fertiliser during the six months that I gave up for. It had puzzled me as to why I felt MORE ill than usual (I had then-undiagnosed fibromyalgia, too) instead of feeling better. Long story short, the smoking-kills-oestrogen info was in a breast cancer book co-written by a Dr who my oncologist knew, and I was advised NOT to give up again, as it would increase my natural oestradiol levels and put me at further risk of recurrence, or development of the dreaded secondaries.

    (I confess I do rather enjoy watching the imperious, judgemental expression slide off a person’s face when they’re attacking me for smoking, usually along with the “You’ve got cancer, you should know better” speech, when I explain this to them!)

    How’s your chemo going? X

    • So interesting. I never knew that about smoking. Have you continued? I’m not a smoker and never will be.
      Anyway, my target audience is anyone who feels they benefit from my blog, enjoy reading it, someone who’s going through cancer, has been through it, a caregiver, younger, older….anyone!!!!! So I’m glad you’re reading and welcome!

      • Thanks, Carrie 🙂
        Can I ask you how far through treatment you are now?

      • I finished chemo two months ago and radiation about a month ago. I’m now on tamoxifen and I’m getting Herceptin every 3 weeks as part of a clinical trial. I’m eligible for reconstruction in the late fall/early winter.

      • I was also dx’d in the July (2007) and came out of radio in the May. Chemo ran from Sept-end March for me, with a month off between chemo & radio. I wasn’t herceptin +ve. We started me on Aromasin, then Femara, then the only other aromatase inhibitor. Against my better instincts, I was eventually put on Tamoxifen, but like everything else, I reacted horribly to it and was taken off it after less than 2 weeks. Like you, I am (or was) an actress, too.
        I had a radical mastectomy and simultaneous reconstruction (with lat dorsi muscle and implant beneath) before my chemo. With the cut-backs here in the UK, the option of a simultaneous recon is no longer available.
        If I can help you with any advice about recons, pls just ask. I understand what a decision-destroying roller-coaster this process is, and if I can clarify anything for you from my own experience of reconstruction, I’d be happy to help. I wish I’d had more chance to get information from other breast cancer people about chemo and other treatments, but I was slapped swiftly into the system and my surgery was less than a month after my dx, and I was in chemo by the September. It was all very fast.

        I was less than 119 lbs when I had my surgery, and the steroids and other drugs put me up to a stonking great 210 lbs. I’m 175 lbs now, so still a long way to go before my old wardrobe stops looking like doll’s clothes.
        My recon surgeon was brilliant, and the result is still beautiful, but I was very lucky there. Have they talked to you about the impact that recons with either fatty tissue from your stomach, or muscle from your back, can have on you over time? Ironically, now looking like Moby Dick’s older, fatter sister, there wasn’t enough fatty stuff on me to do the stomach recon option at the time. I’d rapidly lost 14 lbs just before dx.

        Did you have any axillary node clearance?

        Sorry this message is badly laid out – my ipad seems to have a problem with editing in this dialogue box, and I also apparently have no way of scrolling back to check anything!
        L. X

      • Well, I know that reconstruction from the fat from my belly is not an option for me at this point. I wouldn’t be able to lift my son for months so, that’s not even an option. And honestly, I don’t know if I want to put myself through that much pain. I’m probably just going to get implants.
        I did have axillary node removal. They found the cancer in 2 out of 12 nodes.
        Sorry about the weight gain. Cancer treatment is a bitch but it’s forcing me to look closer at my lifestyle. I’m eating better and trying to exercise so that I can not only maintain my weight but lose and maintain. So far so good.

  2. I try not to read articles like that. According to whatever supposed studies out there it is always changing what may or may not cause cancer. To insinuate that it is all in how you eat isn’t right.

    • Or that the “perfect healthy” lifestyle can change your genetics. I don’t know what is meant by that post but let me tell you, the people who replied to message on that page are wackadoo!!!!

  3. Well this image is offensive. And is it by a “Dr.” V? Surprised this message would come from a medical professional. Not sure how he got his degree.

    Like you said, cancer can attack anyone regardless of how healthy the person is. It also doesn’t mind the age. Messages like this one (among others related to “cures” for cancer) really bother me. These are the messages that contribute to the kind of guilt many cancer patients experience and I don’t welcome them.

    The message is also misleading and can cause certain people not to be responsible about their health — by seeing a Dr. regularly — because “they eat right.”

    I follow some of those pages that talk about health and I find myself trying to prove people wrong all the time. There is some serious level of ignorance about cancer out there. So I removed those pages from my facebook feed.

    Sorry this got you so upset during your weekend.

  4. Urgh! It is not your fault! Stupid articles like that make me so mad also!
    Stay strong x 🙂

  5. Thanks, Carrie. I hope all goes well for you.

  6. I was diagnosed wit inflammatory breast cancer in July 2013 at the age of 31. I unfortunately, was overweight and thought (and sometimes still do) that I caused my cancer. If I only didn’t have such a sweet tooth maybe I could have avoided all of this. However, throughout my “journey” I have met women who were as fit as can be when they were diagnosed; I’ve met nurses who administer my chemo and doctors who have all been diagnosed with breast cancer. They certainly all had healthy bodies. I’ve come to realize that cancer doesn’t give a shit who you are, where you’re from, how much organic food you eat or how much money you have. I’d love to know the site that shared this image so that I can share my thoughts. 😉

    • How are you feeling now, almost 2 years post diagnosis? I agree that cancer doesn’t care who you are, sometimes it just is what it is. I think people want to have complete control over their situation, which I totally get. That’s why I am trying to eat better and exercise more. And while I know that can help prevent recurrence, I also know that it’s not a guarantee. The site was Breast Cancer Conquerer. I had just “liked” the Facebook page but hadn’t looked at the site yet. Now that I have looked at the website I realize what a mistake that was. I will be more careful in the future.

  7. I’m calling BS on that stupid image! I was healthy and fit and here I am with breast cancer at 37! There are so many factors that probably contribute to a cancer diagnosis…good old ‘bad luck’ being one of them.

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