Remission vs. Cure

I guess there's a magical pill called Gleevec that keeps your cancer in remission. I'd never heard of it. For people with chronic cancers, like leukemia, something like this can be a godsend. For people like me, with basal or squamous cell carcinoma, it doesn't matter. We don't need chemo, radiation, or pills. We're lucky. We don't wear pink ribbons because “it isn't that bad.” We don't get terms applied to us like “chronic,” “invasive” or “melanoma.” We're told “We caught it early, so the future's bright.” And we just wait for someone to hack it out and move on, hoping that in five years it's over.

I never really thought about the difference between being in remission and being cured. No one ever told me there was a difference. I just keep going back to my appointments every three or six months, getting my boob squashed on a plate, having an ultrasound, or getting a needle stuck in and hoping my insurance will cover it.

I do know that in one year I'm allowed to have the “cured” stamp put on my medical records. Whatever it really means, I don't know. The doctor's office called to remind me of my next appointment and suddenly I started to feel sorry for myself.


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