Back in 2006, when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer, I knew my odds of long-term survival were 98 or 99 percent. Those are the kinds of odds that a cancer patient should be aware of, should focus on, as they serve to buoy the spirit when the going gets tough during treatment.
Then there are the odds at the other end of the spectrum — like those for Stage 4 breast cancer patients like myself. In the first two or three months after my January 2011 diagnosis, I purposely did not look at survival statistics. Instead, I asked my close friends and family to act as “filters.” If they found promising treatment information or any articles that offered hope, they were to send it on to me. But the dire statistics — I didn’t need to see them. What could possibly be gained?
Am I in a state of denial? Nope. I wouldn’t call it that at all. Rather, I’m on a mission that I’ll call “re-lial” — relying on myself and any positive sources and role models I can cull to show me how to increase my odds of long-term survival. To show me what I can do and what I can be. Here’s my theory — If I can be one of the 2-5 percent of women who can get breast cancer after her breasts have been removed, then I can also be among those who survive it.
As I’ve said before, I believe beating cancer requires a multi-faceted approach: diet, exercise, spiritual life, medicine, support from loving friends and family, positive attitude. So, when I came across this post this morning — written by a Stage 4 breast cancer survivor — that pulls together all of these ideas so beautifully and poignantly, I felt compelled to pass it on.
Check out this post by Pink Fund Blogger and Stage IV Cancer SurThrivor Tami Boehmer. It is a must-read and great advice for all of us. Trust me.
Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson