Mind Over Cancer

My Father-In-Law was recently informed that Cancer has been detected on his liver. The liver is a major organ, and my fiance, Victor, and I are trying hard not to freak out. Joel, his dad, is a lovely man who takes pleasure in the simple things in life, like tending to his garden and torturing his wife. He came to Canada from Portugal as a young man, and was one of the founding members of the Canadian Portuguese Society and Community Centre in Toronto. There is a framed letter from the Mayor, recognizing his contribution to the community, hanging in the hall of Victor's childhood home.

Joel is 85 years old, but a young 85; he has a great laugh and, as I said, gets much pleasure out of teasing his wife. Margaret, his wife, spends most of her time saying, "Oh Joel" and rolling her eyes. He is a great father, the kind who sticks up for his sons no matter what. According to the stories Victor told me of the trouble he and his brother used to get into as a teenagers, his Dad never let him down. Never. This morning Victor, sounding more like a child than an adult in his forties said, "I always thought my Dad was invincible." Tears filled my eyes as I thought of having to comfort him through what will be the toughest thing he'll ever have to go through, watching his father die. I'm not writing Joel off, but this kind of news can get you preparing yourself for the worst. "If this goes badly, it's going to be a very stressful time for all of us," Victor said, as I watched him droop his head and then give it a little shake to recover himself. If we lose Joel, that means we inherit Margaret, and Victor's brother Julio who is two years older than him and has schizophrenia. It would mean a shit-ton of added stress to our family and relationship. I rarely see Victor as it is because his daughter is in rep soccer all year long, and  what's worse, I think I'm going to be the one stuck with looking after his Mom who is the definition of persnickety.

Everyone knows that it's a bad idea to look up illness on the Internet because it will only frighten the hell out of you. An interesting discussion came out of Victor's Internet search, however, he found that people who seemed perfectly healthy, faded rather quickly after being told they had a certain amount of time to live. A man mentioned that his mother seemed normal until receiving her diagnosis, and then died six weeks later! We got to thinking that part of it must be psychological, if a doctor tells you you're going to die in a few months, you tend to believe him.  If we thought we had a fighting chance, would we live longer in those situations? Consider people who, in the face of Cancer, turn to holistic medicine, a big part of the holistic approach is simply believing that it will work; mind over Cancer. What if doctors changed the way they diagnose us, using different words to describe our situation, and leaving it up to the patient, in their mind, to decide their own fate? Would patients live longer after diagnosis if they thought it was possible?

Update: We have now been informed that it is not just Liver Cancer, but also Kidney. A biopsy has been scheduled, and from what we've read the fact that it's in more than one place means that it has spread. Spreading mean stage four. My husband has quickly moved from scared to angry, and I don't blame him. We won't have the official diagnosis for a few weeks, but I guess now we're prepared for the worst. With Christmas around the corner, we are now considering a big family trip to relax and enjoy our time together, I hope we have that long.

Do you know anyone who used holistic medicine to ward off Cancer?
Do you know anyone who has had liver cancer?
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Good luck out there,

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