I’m Not A Statistic

My wife’s latest post:

erikaFirst, I officially graduated from the Ostrich School and if you can’t handle knowing, please skip this entire blog post. I’m serious. Don’t read it! For those who want to know, according to Cancer.org about 3 in 4 women with ovarian cancer live for at least 1 year after diagnosis. Almost half (46%) of women with ovarian cancer are still alive at least 5 years after diagnosis. Between 70% and 90% of all women with ovarian cancer, at some point, have a recurrence. Women with advanced (stage 3 and 4) ovarian cancer tend to have multiple relapses and undergo several rounds of chemotherapy. For women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the risk of recurrence varies based on multiple factors, including the stage at diagnosis. About 68% of women diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer, who had successful surgical outcomes, will have recurrence at some point. [Citation: Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (www.ovariancancer.org) and SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975–2005, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, Md., http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2005/]. If ovarian cancer is found (and treated) before the cancer has spread outside the ovary, the 5-year survival rate is 94%. However, only 15% of all ovarian cancers are found at this early stage. Please stop asking me if it was caught early and treated…  No. Stage IIIC is advanced, spread, and the 5-year survival rate for what I had is 35%. Now you know.

I met with my surgeon yesterday. I asked him if he thought I was cured and he said, no. …But but but I was NED (no evidence of disease)! He explained that due to his actually having been inside my body during the surgery and his having a vast amount of experience he hopes that I’m cured but the reality is most cases like mine relapse. I appreciate his honesty. You might be asking or want to ask me why I’m writing about this? Because, I want everyone who comes in contact with me to know. This is why I’m not having a party to celebrate the end of chemo. This is why I’m happy yet careful. I’m celebrating and I’m thankful and yet I’m not going to take anything for granted. It’s wonderful to live each day as a brand new day… coined, “Living Sincerely” by wise cancer survivors. Excited to be alive and planning a bright future yet still very aware and mindful of my reality. It’s fragile.  I’ve graduated from having sand in my eyes and ears. I’m fully aware of my situation and that’s bringing me to a very safe and happy place… closer to G-d and closer to my family and friends. It’s okay.

Read the whole thing.

I, too, have been a diligent student in the Ostrich School for the past half a year or so, and refused to even look at any of the statistics. And in all honesty, I wish I hadn’t seen them in my wife’s post. But now I have and there is no going back. Having said that, I am hopeful that with positive thinking, prayers and the love of family and friends, Erika will overcome this.

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

comments

  • Jim from Iowa

    Great post, Erika. It really hit home for me. Dealing with my cancer head on (reading all I could find on the internet and information from my medical professionals and, most important, talking openly and candidly about my concerns and fears with friends, family and doctors) was the best way to get through it for me. Recurrence is a reality (mine came back three more times) but my attitude was “What choice do I have? Just deal with it and get on with my life.” That worked for me. That and the love and support from my family.

    • Erika

      Thank you Jim! I wish you a long life! Thank u for your encouraging words!
      Xoxo
      Erika

  • Jim from Iowa

    Huh?

  • Inessa

    Statistics are very useful in some ways, but not in individual cases because…. you are not a statistic. The statistics are useful to compare the different treatment options and to chose the best one, and even, for the chance of relapse, to have a long term plan of what’s the next step. However, they make no difference to the individual patient, as they don’t come into play until something happens (like a relapse). It’s funny how human nature gets us to look at things negatively. 35% is huge. If I was told there was a 35% of getting knocked over by a car today, I wouldn’t go out of the house. If you tell people that a drug will lower their cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack, but there is 0.01% chance of some horrible side effect, many wouldn’t take it. A certain percentage die from complication of treatment, but Erika wasn’t one of them. And a certain percentage don’t respond to treatment and the tumours don’t shrink, but Erika wasn’t one of them either. It means that after treatment, women with her particular disease, get randomized by G-d to the 35% group or to the 65% group, and you just need to hope and pray to be in the 35% group. As long as she’s in the 35% club, she’ll be 100% cancer free. If the odds of survival are 95%, the deal is much the same – you just hope and pray not to get into the 5% group. Once the treatment is over, we don’t get to determine which statistic we fall in. However, get a general check including breasts. Otherwise, live well. Stay strong.

    • Erika

      Those r some wise words Inessa! Thank you!
      Warmly,
      Erika

      • Inessa

        Shabbat shalom Erika,
        You are that amazing, that I did get a thrill and a rush of warm and fuzzies that you took the time and effort to reply. Stay in the 35% club. Also, Ostrich school’s not so bad really, since luckily, the doctors do the work for you, and the oncologists are the biggest wells of all statistical knowledge. One thing though, get your BRACA genes checked – it may be a gift of knowledge and life to your siblings and children!!

      • Inessa

        Oh, and you should have a party to celebrate end of chemo! That’s a great idea! People celebrate much smaller achievements. For however long it’s over, (hopefully forever) it’s certainly worth celebrating. The recovery from chemo’s effect is as life affirming as getting rid of cancer, and this “Spring time” is a celebration.

  • Kelly

    Wow – each time I read your posts I’m so moved by your talent in articulating your journey. You are an inspiration to us all! I wish you a complete recovery and look forward to hearing about the next chapter.

  • Bubbe

    Mazel tov! Keep putting one foot in front of the other, do what you would have been doing had this not happened and keep that beautiful smile. You are a wonderful example of courage.

  • http://shimonafromthepalace.wordpress.com Shimona from the Palace

    I just want to say that I wish you well and will continue to pray for you.