Monday, May 25, 2009

Kimo (in Hawaiian)

A 13-year-old boy from Washington who refused chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin's Disease has been in the news lately, especially since a court ordered him to undergo the therapy. But he's finally returned with his mom to be checked out by a doctor, and I can't help feeling SO grateful.

Six years ago, I was in his position, facing the same cancer and the same treatment — and with a 93 percent cure rate, I accepted the chemotherapy option and never looked back. I will be completely honest, though. Sometimes the cure really is worse than the disease, because the chemotherapy suddenly made me nauseated and tired, my hair fell out, and there were times when every bone in my body ached. Chemotherapy is terrible, and I can understand why a 13-year-old who had only one treatment would flee from it.

But ever since I read about this boy, I've wanted to blog about it, because I think people have a misunderstanding about chemotherapy. Yes, it causes pain. Yes, it causes most people to lose their hair and, in some ways, their strength. But it is often a solution that allows people to conquer the cancer that is going to take their life. If millions of people are survivors today because of an aggressive drug treatment, it can't be all bad — and refusing a treatment that cures more than 90 percent of all patients, in my mind, is unwise.

I hope that this boy will recover and that if he refuses chemotherapy, he can still be healed. I do believe in the power of positive thinking, and I think a lot of the cure comes from believing you can beat the disease. But refusing doctors' advice or a treatment that works might only bring pain — or worse, something that can never be healed at all.

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Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts! I love reading them.