The Cancer Industrial Complex (UPDATE on Dede Miller) by Cindy Sheehan
It's been a little over a year since my sister and peace-colleague Dede Miller was diagnosed with "triple-negative" stage 4 breast cancer. It's been almost a year since she left her small home in Los Angeles County to come for a "visit" with me up in Vacaville CA and has been here since.
At a time in her life when she was most scared an vulnerable, she was jerked around by LAC-USC (LA County-USC Medical Center) and denied treatment because of a "coverage" SNAFU. So, I brought her up to northern California to see if we could get her care up here. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the tumor in her breast ruptured outward and I had to rush her to the emergency room and she became covered under my county's Medi-cal program. It has been a blessing and a curse.
Some in the medical establishment are "hammers" and every problem they see is a "nail" that has to be beaten to be solved. After a solid year of one different chemo after another, Dede's cancer is still there, but the chemo has insidiously destroyed her immune system and her energy. Even though we have tried and continue to try every alternative treatment, daily supplements, and whole healthy food, her body is growing tired of the fight.
We saw some early victories where the breast tumor was almost gone and Dede's energy spiked upward, but there's one thing no one in the medical establishment has been able to tell us: why no surgery to remove the breast? Besides the weakness, dizziness and heart palpitations, she is in a lot of pain from the invader.
It seems like her medical oncologist is out of chemo options to give her and I think that could be potentially a good thing--I hope in the respite, it will giver her body time to bounce back. Dede has been referred to UC Davis Medical to see if a surgical oncologist there can do anything, or if they have any trials for Dede's cancer, which is rare for her age and race, and has no hormone receptors like other breast cancers which have seen some good remission/cure rates. Although it's been several weeks since the referral, we have not heard from UC Davis.
Because of her weakness, Dede is growing increasingly dependent upon me and I think that unless something miraculous happens, my scheduled trips away from home to do activist work will become shorter and less frequent than they already have been. (Who wants to see a fifty-ish antiwar campaigner, when a seventy-ish pro-war person is running for president?)
As for myself, a visit from my ill sister a year ago is turning into a full-time, unpaid job. I honestly believed that she would well be on her way to recovery by now and moving back to her home in Los Angeles. I want it mostly for her, but also for myself. This has been the most physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting thing I have had to go through since Casey was killed 12 years ago. Like an untimely death from a war based on lies and for profit, fighting cancer and the Cancer Industrial Complex (C-I-C) is hard for the entire family that rallies for support.
It seems that the Cancer Industrial Complex is not invested in curing patients, but keeping them alive as long as possible to wring every penny out of that death and disease and if a cure does occur, it's not because the Complex pumped gallons of poison into a person's body, or focused carcinogenic radiation on it, but because
of that person's ability to heal despite the C-I-C. I have also been learning (the hard way) about the Natural Cancer Cure Industrial Complex---where there's suffering, there will always be those willing to capitalize and profit off of that suffering.
One hundred years ago, one in 80 people were afflicted with cancer; today, it's one out of every three. (The price WE pay for "progress). Just like the war on drugs and poverty, the war on cancer has done what it was designed to do: create more cancer for the 99%, while creating more profit for the 1%.
It doesn't matter if you are antiwar or prowar; socialist, communist, or capitalist; man or woman; young or old; living in this cancerous empire is designed to make us ill. Cancer is indiscriminate and vicious.
Even though Dede does have Medi-Cal and SSDI, this entire thing has also become a financial burden. Medi-Cal does not cover her supplements or alternative treatments, or the cost of the time I am expending in helping her.
Please donate to her GoFundMe page---and/or send her a card to:
C/O Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
PO BOX 6264
Vacaville, CA 95696