What Do Miracle Cancer Survivors Have In Common?

19 05 2011

Image courtesy of The Pink Fund.

Since my Stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis in January, lots of people have asked me if I know my odds of survival. Most don’t come right out and ask me directly, but come at it in a roundabout way. I know that most people who do ask me this question have likely already seen the statistics and know that they are grim.

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

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6 responses

19 05 2011
Sarah Maurer

I love the ideas of re-lial and sur-thriving. A great post!

19 05 2011
Paul Vachon

I have faith in you, Amy. Remember that you’re always in my thoughts and prayers.

Paul

19 05 2011
Tabitha

I LOVED the blog by Tami Boehmer and thought it was phenomenal! It was though she was speaking directly of you! YOU have what it takes and so much more! I KNOW what you’re going through, I see it in your face, I see it in your eyes, I see it AND feel it in your heart. I SEE it but I also know that YOU have everything it takes and maybe, just maybe, you WERE chosen. YOU ARE the voice of every woman thats been diagnosed and feeling lost as if there is no hope. YOU were chosen to show them the light of that long, deep, dark tunnel. Some people don’t have the strength or courage that you do Aim. You not only give people inspiration, you give them hope, love and ALL that you are. That my friend, is why you will NOT be a “statistic”, you WILL be a survivor. oxoxoxo

19 05 2011
Linda Stanislawski

I couldn’t agree with you more Amy! Be positive and proactive in bringing health and healing to your body. God is awesome and all healing is a gift from Him. I live daily, thanking Him for healthy life in my body. You are absolutely correct in understanding that eating right and having faith as well as the medical and mental attitudes contribute to health and longevity . I continue to hold you up in prayer and trust that one day, when we both have lived very long lives, we will meet .

19 05 2011
michelle

Breast cancer is the biggest roller coaster ride i’ve ever been on! “i have GOOD news and BAD news” is all I have ever heard. Post mastectomy-I’ve learned to focus on the GOOD. Thank you for your positive, heart-warming, true experience. It has helped immensely! God Bless You!! We will survive this!!!!

27 07 2011
Tami Boehmer

Hey Amy,
I just checked my Google Alerts (after months of neglect!) and came across your blog posting! Thanks so much for the mention of my blog post on The Pink Fund site. I am totally behind your thinking and know that statistics are just numbers. I hope you visit my blog and gain some more inspiration and information. And feel free to contact me if you’d like to talk.

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