My name is Janiece Swilling and while I've diaried and journaled and
chronicled, this is my first attempt at a blog. Actually, I may have read exerpts here and there but I've never even read
a blog so this may not be the way it is generally done but I want to help open a dialog with you, the people who come across
my website because you are sick. Or tired or scared or overwhelmed.
Some people drink Zana13 Adaptogenic Tea because it just feels really good. Good, high energy with lots of positive
attributes. Others have come to my store and my website because they just don't feel good or worse, they just got the most
devastating piece of news that they've ever received.
a lot about all of those reasons, particularly the last one. In 2005, I got diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic neuroendocrine
carcinoma. Cancer. It changed my life on every level. I immediately underwent three separate series of chemotherapy and I
had the misfortune of being assigned an oncologist who not only discouraged my personal reading and research, he went so far
as to tell me that I was going to die so I should just get used to the idea and say goodbye to my loved ones while I had the
chance. He gave me a speculative date for my demise (prior to Christmas) and signed me up for various clinical trials.
I was tired and beat to crap from the chemo but if there was a possibility that
I could be the recipient of some new miracle drug, well then, who was I to turn it down? So it was agreed that the pharmaceutical
company would provide the $9,000 medication if I signed the paperwork.
I sat on the examination table covered with a white paper tablecloth and began reading the half inch thick document.
A lot of the pages were about the chemical composition itself but as I got to the disclaimers and the pages I had to sign,
I noticed a recurring theme and a couple of really scary sentences prior to the lines I was supposed to write on. I paraphrase
to the best of my recollection:
"You, the patient, understand
that this drug has no medical implication for your specific condition. However, since it has been determined that you are
imminently terminal, you agree that in exchange for providing this treatment at no cost to you, that you will provide our
company with your cadaver for autopsy to determine the extent of damage our drug may have caused."
Well, crap. As bad as I felt, I still couldn't picture myself as a cadaver. As
I sat there ruminating over the implications of the words I was reading, I heard laughter coming from the room next door,
the doctor's private office. Though I was still dazed, I listened to hear what generated such joy in an oncology office. They
talked about golf and paid greens fees and $10,000 bonuses and Hawaiian vacations. I could see through the cracked open exam
room door as a well dressed man heartily shook hands with my doctor. He stood outside the door as the doctor came in with
pen in hand. He saw the papers still in my hands.
want to take this home and talk to my daughter and my husband before I make a decision."
He wouldn't have it. He said I needed to sign it now so that he could give me the drugs. "Here."
He held out his hand and showed me several boxes wrapped in a rubber band. "Here it is. You can begin today."
"According to the paperwork, this won't help cure my cancer."
"Of course not. I told you that there is nothing available right now that
will cure you. At least this way, you can benefit all mankind by helping get a potential cure ready for market."
"I still want to go home and think about it."
He stormed out of the office and he and the man, amid brusk whispers, went back into his office
and closed the door. And left the exam room door wide open while I frantically clutched at the paper tablecloth covering my
cold naked body.
I didn't sign the papers, I didn't take the
drug and, sorry, mankind. I didn't donate my body to science. I had every intention of retaining it for myself.
The reason I chose to tell you this story to open my blog is because every day,
someone finds themself in the same sort of predicament. We have been raised to believe that doctors are gods. Doctors believe
they are gods. They can make life continue. They are saviors for desperate sick people.
Don't get me wrong. There are amazing medical doctors with intellect and curiosity and compassion who
dedicate their lives to the improvement of the quality of life for people diagnosed with this stupid awful disease. I have
come to see, however, that much like any profession, there are some members who are happy collecting their fees and pharmaceutical
company kickbacks for pumping useless poisons into patients whose first names they never remember.
The thing I want to do with this blog is tell you that it is not only OK to ask questions,
it is a matter of life and death. Interview your doctors and health care providers and advisors like you would interview your
mechanic. Write your questions down. Make sure you can be heard and get answers to your questions no matter how stupid you
think they might be. Don't let anyone embarrass you or make you feel less valuable to the human race. You deserve to have
all the tools available to help you save your life. Read everything you can get your hands on and weigh the information carefully
as you consider what to apply.
I tried all sorts of
things when I first divorced chemotherapy and I want to be able to share the things that I've found so that you won't be so
scared and you will have a little heads up on what to do next. My original prognosis was less than six months. That was seven
and a half years ago. So breathe deep, laugh as often as you can and do something nice just for the hell of it. See ya later.