Having cancer changes just about everything. Some in a good way. Some, well... not so much. Here is a great summarization of how things look from this side of the fence. I couldn't have said it any better, so just click the link to read "12 Hard Truths About Having Cancer".
Bogie and Lana, two of Hollywood’s biggest film noir stars of the 1940s. They were smart, sexy, and mysterious, and they always had a cigarette burning. These characteristics shaped the genre of film and future presence of cigarettes in Hollywood.
Bogart personified the tough, mysterious, and sexy male character that became the central aspect of the film noir genre. Every man wanted to be him and all the girls wanted him, yet he couldn’t be touched. Part of that character included the lit cigarette that always dangled from his lips. Bogart made smoking cool, and soon cigarettes could be seen on every screen in the country. Smoking and drinking wasn’t just something only Bogart’s characters did, off screen his chain smoking and heavy drinking continued, until it eventually caught up with him in 1956, just a decade after marrying the love of his life, Lauren Bacall. Bogie was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and underwent surgery to have the tumor removed. In a last ditch effort to save his life, the doctors removed the majority of his esophagus and relocated his stomach and intestines. However, it was unsuccessful and he died on January 14, 1957 at the age of 57.
Lana Turner struggled with cancer as well. Lana’s long life of alcoholism and smoking resulted in a diagnoses of throat cancer in 1992. She underwent 8 weeks of radiation therapy and announced a year later that she was in remission, fully recovered, and done with smoking. She returned to the public eye for a year until the cancer reappeared in her jaw and neck. The areas became so severely swollen that she could not eat or talk. She was put on a feeding tube and hidden from society, during which her weight dropped to only 85 pounds. She finally passed in 1996 at the age of 75.
It's no secret that tobacco use and alcohol abuse increase the risk of many types of cancer. When alcohol and tobacco are used together it drastically increases you risk for oral cancer. Bogie and Lana’s memories will live on in their films forever. Unfortunately, the presence of tobacco use on screen appears to be living on as well, glamorizing one of the unhealthiest of habits.
Using tobacco isn't cool. It smells bad, it's expensive and it can kill you. Eating through a feeding tube isn't glamorous. Having half of your jaw removed isn't fun. And death... Well, I don't imagine that's so great either.
It seems more and more baseball players are being diagnosed with oral cancer. Babe Ruth, Curt Flood, Brett Butler, and Tony Gwynn all fought with oral cancer. But why baseball? Why are baseball players suffering from oral cancer more than other athletes? Because of the prevalence of chewing tobacco in baseball culture.
I don’t know why or how it came to be, but chewing tobacco is part of the game and has been since the rules were written in the 1840s. Watch any old footage of baseball games and you will see players on the sideline spitting thick, brown juice from their mouths in the dugouts, and then walking up to bat with a wad of chew in their cheek. Athletes are exposed to it as early as high school as a stimulant to keep you calm while playing, but most players continued the habit off the field.
One baseball story stands out in particular: Bill Tuttle’s. Tuttle played center field for the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Athletics, and the Minnesota twins in the 1950s and early 60s, and frequently used chewing tobacco during that time. In most pictures and baseball cards, you can see a bulge in his cheek full of tobacco. All these years of chewing caught up with him though, and at age 64 he was diagnosed with oral cancer. He underwent five operations to remove cancer that riddled his cheek and gums, resulting in the removal and reconstruction of major portions of his jaw, cheeks, and face. He eventually lost the ability to speak and the function of one of his arms after the nerves in it were severed while removing skin to be grafted onto his face.
The last few years of his life, Tuttle used his story to spread awareness of the dangers of chewing tobacco, especially in the context of baseball. Him and Joe Garagiola (catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, and the New York Giants, TV personality of The Today Show, and chairman of Oral Health America’s National Spit Tobacco Education Program) worked to have chewing tobacco banned on the field. While all college and minor league teams have bans on spit tobacco use, it is still allowed in the MLB, and continues to influence players, fans, and children and be a huge source of profit for tobacco companies.
The video in this article “Baseball’s Smokeless Tobacco Problem” does a really good job of describing why allowing this habit to continue is so dangerous to children and young fans and what is being done to stop it.
Many of you only know ROCSTART and not the other aspects of my life. We also own a clothing store in a great part of town. It's a pretty cool shop. Our customers are amazing, we do lots of fun community events, generally can't ask for a better situation. Until something completely stupid happens. I have to remind myself that we signed the lease for the clothing store, NOT the nonprofit. Welcome to the greatest irony of my life and meet our new neighbor:
I had a conversation recently with a friend whose godson, age 4, was going through treatment for kidney cancer. When my friend told of the criticisms the parents were getting for going with traditional treatment I was pretty shocked. Then he told me of the alternatives that were being recommended and I was absolutely appalled.
In many instances alternative treatments (when approved by your oncologist) are good to build up confidence or morale when used in conjunction with the traditional treatment. However, recommending that a 4 year old not complete his prescribed chemo regimen and, instead, have the family think positive thoughts over a glass water and have the child drink the water (to cure his kidney cancer)... Well, that's just asinine. Could it possibly make the child feel more confident? Perhaps. But you're not doing anyone any favors by insisting their decision was wrong.
This article in The Guardian does a good job at explaining why telling someone how to cure themselves with alternative medicine once they have opted for traditional treatments is not only fruitless but is also very insulting. My personal experience was such that my cancer was at the end stage. I didn't feel I had time to try anything other than the chemo and radiation the doctors recommended. If I had been Stage 1 maybe I would've made other choices but I doubt it. I'm a numbers person. Do I believe there are alternative cures out there? Yes, I actually do. However, when times of the essence, I don't need anyone telling me my choices were ignorant or unnecessary.
Please, if you do nothing else, think before you speak and offer information without attaching your opinion. And if you're the patient please don't start any alternatives while going through treatment without consulting your doctor. There are some things that are otherwise very healthy but can interfere with the effectiveness your treatment.
Due to staffing and catering requirements, ROCKABILLY PROM ticket sales will be cut off at noon on Friday! Don't miss out on the food, fun, and festivities! www.rockabillypromjax.eventbrite.com or come to Grease Rags Clothing Co at 1670-2 San Marco Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32207.
Buy tickets at www.rockabillypromjax.eventbrite.com and have the night of your life on February 13, 2016! Things you will see at the 2nd Annual Rockabilly Prom:
VICTOR TREVINO JR. AS ELVIS! Victor will be performing with Beau and The Burners!
GO GET GONE joining us for the 2nd year!!!
Our beautiful venue, the 8,000 square foot RAMONA PAVILION BALLROOM!!!
Lots of dancing and fun!!!
I always say the treatment was the easy part. Of course, my family all get really angry with me when I say this but they aren't in my head. Only someone who has been a cancer warrior and won the physical fight will understand the mental battle that follows.
I just had a conversation with someone yesterday about how cancer affects your life even after you get the all clear from the doctors. I really envy those who finish treatment, find there is No Evidence of Disease (NED), they go right back to their previous jobs and seem to never miss a beat. They somehow appear to never think about it. Their physical and mental selves seem to recover and it's business as usual. I can tell you it's not the case with many Head and Neck Cancer survivors. Many of us are consumed by the anxiety that a late stage cancer diagnosis brings. Unfortunately, these types of cancer are most often discovered at Stage 3 or later.
I thought maybe I was just weaker than the average bear but lately I've been seeing more evidence that I'm really far from alone in my struggle. According to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer have four times the rate of suicide than the general public. (You can read more about these findings here.) While I don't have data on the suicide rate of survivors of other types of cancer, I imagine that any late stage diagnosis would bring a high rate with it.
Another thing I've been seeing more of is talk about cancer survivors and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I guess fighting for your life is the same no matter where the threat comes from. For so many people, the battle is over but the war is far from won. This article from thebreastcancersite.com mentions how a simple body ache can send a cancer survivor into a downward spiral to the darkest recesses of your mind. That's exactly how it happens. And it doesn't really matter how many times you go to the doctor to find it's nothing. You still worry every single time.
Anxiety, depression, emotional outbursts, worrying about the future, being unable to live in the moment without worrying that something bad will happen just when everything is going well, inability to rest for fear of wasting time you assume you don't have, sleep disorders, concentration and memory problems. Sometimes you look great on the surface. It's what lies beneath that is difficult to manage.
ROCSTART has been very fortunate over the last year. A couple of successful fundraisers. Some good publicity. Thanks to all of our supporters we have been able to provide assistance to a handful of deserving survivors. The thing about it is help can take on many different forms. Some may need help paying for medication, some may need a brake job for their car to get safely to and from treatment, some may need guidance on how to start their own 501(c)3 or fundraising event. Some may just need somebody to talk to for a minute here or there, want someone to accompany them to their first laryngoscopy or simply just need to know somebody has walked in their shoes and made it. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who has supported us so that we can do these things for those in need. It really does make a difference.