Cancer Got Clout

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

July 23rd, 2011 • Cancer Can Suck ItPrint Print

Dude. You should totally ditch your pain and get yourself some cancer. Instead of boinging around from pain specialist to pain specialist – frustrated, broke, and un- or mis-diagnosed, dragging your sorry pain-afflicted ass around in a sea of ignorance, belligerence, and negligence, you will find yourself falling into a strong, loving net of people who are informed, caring, and HOOKED. UP.

There is a mean-ass network of cancer resources, support groups, and research centers. There are clinics offering massage and other holistic health treatments to low-income people with cancer, and there are apparently a whole host of financial aid resources that I have not even begun to explore.

And people are SO nice! I put in one call to American Cancer Society, with a question about diagnosing hurthle cells, and I got back a call from an oncologist (cancer specialist) registered nurse (RN), who had done thorough research on my behalf. She reported back on the nature of hurthle cells and why they are hard to diagnose. I finally understood why they have to haul out the whole damn thyroid in order to figure out if the cells are cancerous or not. I was advised that if I needed any other research conducted, I should call them; and they would happily do it for me.

Then when I asked if there was some biotech clinical trial experimental thingamadoogee going on somewhere in the world, enabling one to diagnose the hurthle cells sans surgery, the nurse transferred me over to their clinical trials matching service. The gal there took down all my info and promised to send me everything she could find on clinical trials related to this issue. (She emailed it within the hour.) She also asked me if there was anything else she could do for me. And the thing is, I could tell she meant it. Both these ladies were genuinely patient and caring.

Then there’s the fact that when I tell clients I am dealing with cancer, they’re like, oh, take the month off, don’t worry about this or that. As opposed to those who were more irked than caring when pain made it hell to complete a job. Even a media outlet targeted to pain patients, I kid you not, expected — nay, outright demanded — that I finish an article on deadline, despite the horrific nerve pain shooting through my eyes the day before it was due.

I told a friend about this night-and-day difference in experience, and he responded thusly: “Cancer got clout.” Word.

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