Saturday, January 26, 2013

Its a bunch of numbers

With a cancer diagnosis you get a bunch of numbers. Prognosis, cancer markers, statistics, blood counts, and more. The numbers can tell us good things and bad things. We can read bad things into good numbers and good things into bad numbers. We can be told that we were too young to get that or too old to get this. We can let the numbers scare the crap out of us.

Or we can let them just be numbers.

I am not normal. I got thyroid cancer when it was very rare - approximately 10,000 cases annually. I got breast cancer when I was younger than expected. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis which was not expected - even with a family history of it. According to the numbers I should be more likely to get a different autoimmune ailment.

I have friends who got early stage cancer diagnoses with relatively rosy prognoses who are no longer with us. I have a friend with an ovarian cancer stage IV diagnosis who is still with us and doing well more than three decades later. I have friends who are still here after stage IV diagnosis who go to treatment, get periodic CT and PET scans and are doing well. I have other stage IV friends who are doing just fine and are not in treatment. I have many friends years and decades after a cancer diagnosis who are still doing fine.

I met another woman online this morning when I read her story about how she shouldn't be here either if she listened to the numbers. Our doctors can only tell us the numbers, but they can't tell us our lives.

1 comment:

Jim's Girl said...

Thanks! I needed to read this today. ~Kate

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