Cancer – numbers

One of the things that has become clear to Rita and me is that cancer has a whole lot in common with the gaming industry. It is about the numbers. (What follows are numbers that have be told to us by doctors, nurses and medical professionals; any mistakes in reporting are mine.)

It goes something like this: 1 in 8 women (12.5%) will develop breast cancer sometime in their lives. Of the women who get a lumpectomy, 20% will require a follow-up surgery. In addition 20% of the women who have Rita’s form of cancer will see a reoccurrence. This can be reduced to 14% through 4 to 6 weeks of radiation and a regiment of tamoxifen for 5 years. Reoccurrence can be reduced another 2% by extending the tamoxifen for another 5 years.

On the surface all of this sounds wonderful. The odds are on our side.

Now this is what I hear: 1 in 8 and Rita is the 1. After Rita’s surgery the news came back that a second surgery was needed. We ended up on the wrong side, the 20% group. Radiation and tamoxifen will decrease the possibility of reoccurrence. What is going to prevent Rita from being on the short side of the stick? Now when someone says there is an 85% chance of success I wonder about the 15% group, after all being on the short-side is starting to feel familiar.

I want to know that everything is going to be OK. I want God to write in the sky or let me know in a dream that God has got this. It hasn’t happened. Our friends, co-workers, and family are supportive. They believe that we are going to beat this. On my good days I agree. Other days hope fades.

The Apostle Paul talks about faith, hope, and love. I can say that our love is strong. Our faith has been shaken. And then there is hope. Hope for healing. Hope for a future. Hope that we beat the odds.

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One response to “Cancer – numbers

  1. Annette

    Rita will beat this and that doesn’t take hope, faith or anything else really to know that. What it takes is smarts, and Rita is one of the smartest people I know. She will follow what the doctors say and she will also do the follow up tests she needs to. She’ll recognize changes in her body and she won’t ignore them. She will have routine follow up tests done on time, she won’t be saying “oh,I’m fine, I can put it off for another month or two”. And, should the cancer rear its ugly head, she’ll beat it down like the nasty evil it is. Trust in Rita and trust that the glass is half full, because in that you know God has definitely been on your side all along. No, He hasn’t written messages in the sky nor has He paid you a divine visit in your sleep. But something led Rita to have that original mammogram, that the cancer was caught at a very early stage and you have a care team that has been on top of this.
    But, being a numbers kind of guy, you need to know that the survival rate of patients who got such an early diagnosis (stage 0-1) is 100%.

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