I am really concerned about what is going to happen in the storyline in Coronation Street over the next weeks. Not being a coronation street watcher* I can’t make any bets on how it is going to be portrayed. I am told that the writers are working together with doctors and charities supporting brain tumor research and all those charities are celebrating the attention this will attract. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean watching this story will be a positive experience for the likes of me and other brain tumor patients. And, with all the media attention it is getting, I predict that many of us who have never watched ‘Corrie’ before will tune in alongside those sufferers who already take off their wigs and scarves and routinely treat themselves to an evening watching their favourite soap.
Brain tumour is one of the most poorly resourced for research, and improvement in survival is abysmal compared to other cancers. Awareness needs to be raised so that people are moved to give money and support to the cause. But this often involves publishing grim statistics and tragic stories. And there are plenty of those to choose from. I am keen to support the cause but my own story doesn’t fit the bill so I don’t often make headline news in the fundraising stakes, which is a shame because I am living proof that it is NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM . And as much as I want the seriousness of this cancer to be stressed, am even more keen to support sufferers by raising hope. Reading about lives cut short and pain and suffering is not helpful to us. What we need to hear is GOOD news – people surviving against the odds; people sailing trough treatment without so much as a queasy tummy; new promising treatments, supplements, diets. And take note: a brain tumour diagnosis will change your life…BUT it can be for the better. That’s my experience.
This TV series will be avidly watched by sufferers. If they portray hopelessness, suffering, harsh treatment and dreadful side effects that is going to adversely affect the many, many people watching who, let’s face it, have their impending death stuffed in their faces by oncologists all the time. I KNOW what it is like to get this diagnosis. I was predicted a recurrence within a year. I was predicted death within 2 years. Yet it is nearly 3 yrs and I am fit well and scans show no sign of tumor. IT IS POSSIBLE and possibility is all you need have hope – the most powerful treatment available.
If this storyline destroys hope for anyone watching, the writers and producers are doing a great disservice. I understand they are trying hard to get the facts right, working with medical specialists, but I know from bitter experience that, though great at prescribing treatment, the medical profession are pretty poor at encouraging hope.
So, if you are a patient, or the loved one of someone suffering from a brain tumour, remember – this is fiction.The facts are as follows:
- GBM has, statistically, a grim prognosis, BUT It is possible to be a long term survivor.
- You are not a statistic.
- Brain tumor research needs more funding so that the whole statistical curve can be improved, BUT meanwhile there are many additional measures and things that can contribute to a good outcome which can give sufferers hope and encouragement such that individuals routinely outlive their prognosis.
- hope and expectation are key. You can take the best treatment, have the best surgeon, eat the best diet, but if you don’t have hope these measures will not be effective.
- if any oncologists are reading this they need to read this and this.
- and if any scriptwriter are reading this maybe you should read this.
*In case you were wondering the picture at the top is from the last time I watched coronation street. I think the cast have changed.