According to the 2019 China Latest Cancer Report released by the National Cancer Center, the tumor incidence rate among young people between the ages of 20 and 39 has increased from 0.4 ‰ to 0.7 ‰, nearly doubling over the past 10 years or so.
The youthfulness of cancer patients brings more than just a change in disease mapping. Due to the huge difference in social roles with older people, young cancer patients often have to face many trials other than the disease. Discrimination in the workplace, the disillusionment of love, and the drastic depletion of family wealth, any one of which can easily break the defenses of a young heart.
At age 30, Xu Jing had almost caught up with all of them.
She was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer at the age of 28, and had two brain metastases. In the two years when her condition was so dangerous, she had to lose her stable job and hide her condition to find her next job. She refused the advances of almost all the boys around her and deliberately cut off her hopes for the future. She insisted on not letting her parents sell their house and took the risk of choosing a cheaper conservative treatment option. For her, the most important issue in life right now is how to strike a balance between survival and life.
One afternoon in May, we met with Xu Jing. Somewhat surprisingly, she was in very good health, and her words were spontaneous, except when she mentioned her parents, she choked up for a while.
The following is Xu Jing’s own account.
Our family’s sky is falling
I was 28 years old when I was diagnosed with lung cancer.
At that time, I was required to submit a health certificate to buy a critical illness insurance product, so I went for a medical checkup for this reason. When the results of the medical examination came out, I was dumbfounded; the X-ray showed a nodule in my left lung and highly suspected a tumor. After a month of various tests, the diagnosis of lung cancer was finally confirmed to be stage 3, which had metastasized to the pleura and there was no chance of surgery.
When I got the diagnosis report, I actually did not believe it. If you say I have lung cancer, I can accept it. At that time, I was able to run and jump, and my body did not have any abnormalities, and I did not even cough. According to my understanding at that time, a patient with advanced lung cancer should be lying in a hospital bed and unable to get up, so thin that he is skin and bones, like a dried apple.
The essence of disbelief is non-acceptance, and the source of non-acceptance is fear. For me and my family, this news is no different from the sky falling. Our family was the most ordinary working family, and my mother had previously worked in a toxic and hazardous job and retired very early. My father was laid off during the restructuring of state-owned enterprises in the late 1990s, and later went out to find a job, a manual job with a low income. 4 years ago, I graduated from college and joined a local bank, which was recognized as a glamorous and secure career for the whole family.
A month after the diagnosis, I cried almost every day. At that time, I thought most about my parents, I think they had a hard time bringing me up, and when I had the ability to return, I was in such a mess, not only can not let them enjoy the blessings, but also to drag them down for the rest of their lives. The next thing I thought about was myself, the aggression, resentment, and despair. I didn’t know why cancer had come to me, but I knew that this life had just begun and I could already see the end.
The opportunity that allowed me to face the disease head on came from someone else’s story.
Because of having this disease, I frantically added many patient groups and met some friends. I found out that there are actually many people who are worse off than me. There is a Hangzhou girl close to my age, diagnosed at about the same time as me, also at an advanced stage, metastasized to the throat. She was very beautiful and her family was very rich, but she was unlucky that there was no matching targeted drug and she had to try blind. At first we talked about TV shows and celebrities. Then she became more and more ill, and people became more and more pessimistic, saying several times that she was dying.
She died at the end of 2018, supposedly on a ventilator and vomiting a lot of blood, and I could imagine that she turned into the dried up apple at the end, which was the first time I experienced the death of a patient.
In contrast, my genetic test results brought luck – ALK positive, which meant that I had clear treatment options available to me, the most straightforward of which was to take targeted drugs. My doctor told me that ALK-positive patients can survive for more than 5 years with regular targeted drugs.
Saving money triggered brain metastasis
For my family, the only drawback of targeted drugs is that they are expensive.
I first took a generation of targeted drugs, more than 50,000 a month, and I could have free drugs after 6 months. But anyway, 300,000 is a big number. My parents emptied their savings and borrowed money from relatives and friends to come up with the $300,000.
Frankly speaking, in the early stage of treatment, the financial pressure was much greater than the pressure from the disease, and money was needed everywhere except for medicine. Once a month for a review, a lung shot alone was more than 1,000, and outpatient care was not reimbursable.
Despite the great investment, my journey was not a smooth one. After a year of taking a generation of targeted drugs, my worst fear happened, brain metastasis. I won’t mention how devastating it was, because immediately afterwards, I had to face the more realistic problem of determining the next step of treatment. For financial reasons, my doctor and I decided to go with a less expensive treatment option, but this decision triggered my second brain metastasis.
Fortunately, at that time, the second-generation targeted drugs  for ALK positivity had been included in the health insurance, and the price I got was one-tenth of the original price, which I could barely afford with my own salary and my parents’ pension.
Sometimes when I think back, I feel scared. Before I got this disease, I always felt that life came first, and as long as there was a chance of survival, I should spare no effort to try, no matter how much it cost. But when I was really in the middle of it, I realized that things are not that absolute. If you have a limited number of bullets, make sure not to finish them in advance.
The good thing is that today the tumor in my brain has completely disappeared and the primary lesion in my lung has shrunk a lot. Judging from the results so far, I am still the lucky one.
Workplace rejects cancer patients
I think it’s not easy for young cancer patients; getting cancer at 30 and getting cancer at 70 are two different concepts; the younger you are, the more you feel deprived of things. From my personal experience, the first thing I was deprived of was my job.
I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018, and I was still working as a financial manager in a local bank, which was my first job for 4 years, and I got along well with my colleagues and leaders. Six months after I got this disease, the leader talked to me and asked me to hand over all my customer resources for the reason of work adjustment. At that time, it was not explicitly said that I should leave, for the position of financial manager, customer resources is the rice bowl, I did not agree.
At that time, my condition was still relatively stable, just go for a review once every two months, and did not delay work. But the unit did not think so.
To be honest, I still have feelings for this unit, after all, I worked here as soon as I graduated, and since I got sick, the leaders and colleagues have also taken good care of me. After struggling for some time, I finally signed the separation agreement. Later I found out that this kind of thing is quite common among young patients, almost all of them seem to have lost their jobs, some because of medical reasons, but more like me “being laid off”.
This is a very unreasonable paradox. The sicker you are, the more you need money to save your life, the less the society gives you the opportunity to make money. I found my current job about six months later, still working as a money manager, but not as secure as the bank. I deliberately concealed my condition when I was looking for a job, so I was like other colleagues, running customers, running customers, working overtime, although very tired, but at least have a stable income.
I remember last winter, once a customer asked me to come to the door, I went to the door and waited for more than half an hour, and then the customer said by phone that there was a temporary matter for another appointment. It was -10 degrees outside that day, I did not want to take a taxi, I walked home alone, 5 kilometers of road, walked almost 2 hours. When I got home and laid down on the bed, tears flowed down unconsciously. I thought, “I have terminal cancer, why am I still making myself so miserable?
Later I figured it out, four words, life is forced.
When there is an avalanche, no snowflake is innocent
Cancer deprives young people of many other things, such as love.
Before I was 28, there was never a lack of suitors around me. A girl always has all kinds of fantasies about love, from the type of guy she wants to spend her life with to the kind of wedding she wants, I have planned them all very carefully. But after I was diagnosed with this disease, love disappeared from my life. In my condition, even if someone really wanted to be with me, I would be afraid that I could not afford the expectations.
This is a very common phenomenon. The young cancer patients I know are either unmarried or divorced, and only a very few of them can fight through this hurdle with their relationships. I remember a quote from Bearden in “Get Out, Tumor”. She said that loving and being loved is the most important thing in this world. This is an incredibly correct chicken soup, but in the real world of cancer, loving and being loved is also the most luxurious thing.
Another very important thing that cancer robs from us is self-esteem.
Last year, a very sensational event happened in the lung cancer circle – Tiger died. Tiger was a cancer blogger on B website. He was diagnosed with lung cancer when he was in his 30s and had been fighting for 4.5 years, often sharing his experiences and insights online. Tiger has more than 200,000 fans, and is considered a netizen in size.
Later, because it was revealed that he had a BMW at home and often went out to eat a big meal, which triggered a lot of questions on the Internet. Many people scolded him, saying that he used the disease hype, selling misery to make money, and others said he was even pretending to be sick, cursing him to die early. Later, Tiger really passed away, the platform went to verify his situation and proved that the lung cancer was real. So, many people who have scolded him went back to his last video to leave a message of apology.
This incident stung me a lot. For a patient with advanced cancer, his emotions have a great impact on the development of his disease. I even think that without the online abuse, Tiger would not have gone so fast.
After this incident, I often advise some cancer patients around me to evaluate their psychological ability before you disclose the label of patient status. Because there is always a misunderstanding of cancer patients in this society, that we should be gray and hopeless, when this stereotype is broken, questions and attacks will come.
I don’t expect when this misconception will be corrected, it’s a social thing that takes a long time to reach. And for me, time is really too precious.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/survival-or-life-the-game-of-life-of-a-90-year-old-girl-with-lung-cancer/
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