I’ve often been asked why I refuse to use the medically accepted term of being “in remission” and why I state that “I am cancer Free.” It’s simple really, I believe that what you tell yourself and the words you use have a major impact on your mind and body.
The word remission means a “temporary recovery;” thus, this in an of itself brings with it negative connotations of waiting for the other shoe to drop. It implies that somewhere along the line, no matter what you do, the cancer will return. Some individuals even state they don’t known how long they’ll be in remission for. It’s not uncommon for physicians to wait five to seven years before they pronounce you in remission, followed quickly by, “let’s keep you that way” as if something you do or don’t do will make the cancer recur.
Saying you’re in remission implies you’re merely in a lull before the cancer returns. It implies somewhere down the line you may get a “recurrence.” So, you’ll drive yourself crazy, worried about “when” you’ll have a recurrence.
The way I look at this is, if it’s not in your blood, your margins were clean, and it didn’t spread to your lymph nodes, then “You ARE cancer FREE!”
I often joke that saying you’re in remission is like saying you’re a little bit pregnant. There is no “little bit pregnant.” You’re either pregnant or you’re not! You either have cancer or you don’t!
Thus, personally, I will always state, “I’m cancer free.”
It’s my affirmation to myself, my mind, body and others that cancer does not dwell in my body. Yes, I have proof; my latest CA 125 test results came back negative as did the Galleri’s cancer test results. Not that I needed proof for my belief, but others did. Though I will admit, I did bite my nails a bit when the Galleri test results came back. (See my Blog on Fear of Test Results.)
If sometime in the future God—the Goddess—and the Universe forbid—I am diagnosed with cancer, then that is a new cancer. Whether it’s breast cancer once again or some other type of cancer, that would be a new diagnosis which I, and my medial team, would deal with from a different perspective than the past cancer I previously endured. And I will handle it by taking into account all I know now and have learned along the way.
Thus, the bottom line is what you tell yourself…what you whisper in your fear…your mind and body will believe and act accordingly. Thus, be careful what you think because as Mike Dooley says, thoughts become things.
I am not in remission…I am cancer FREE!
Note: A CA 125 test measures the amount of the protein CA 125 (cancer antigen 125) in the blood. You would need to request your doctor perform this specific test as it’s not always part of your routine workshop. This test is most often performed for individuals with high risk factors of ovarian cancer. For instance, if there is a family history of ovarian cancer or they are monitoring you for ovarian cancer. And you should insist on having it performed if at any time they recommended you have your ovaries removed.
The Galleri cancer test checks for cancer DNA in your blood. It can detect approximately fifty (50) different types of cancers. This test is approximately $950 and not all medical insurances cover the costs, thus, you’ll most likely have to pay out of pocket. However, it may be worth it to you if you’re at high risk. If you’re a veteran or active duty, speak with the VA in your area as some facilities are sponsoring the Grail’s Cancer Study and your screening is free. Discover more about the Galleri testing here.
Dr. Charley Ferrer is an award-winning author and playwright. Her play, Breast Cancer Diaries won several awards and was an off-Broadway sensation. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, she became frustrated with the lack of information and treatment options provided to women and established the Cancer Tamer Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to the empowerment of women with breast cancer.
Click this link to donate to Cancer Tamer and help us: Encourage—Educate—Empower women with breast cancer.