Daily Archives: July 23, 2011

Numbers

Two years ago, a post of mine titled “Numbers” would have been about numbers on a scale, or calorie counting, or using numbers as a way to measure fitness.

Two years after starting this blog, the only numbers I have on my brain are survival rates. Oh how things can change.

I know this is a deep post to hit you with on a Saturday, but these numbers are weighing me down! I need to get them out of my brain and into the open so I can continue on with my life without their persistent nagging.

Hodgkins Lymphoma, the type of cancer I have, has a very good success rate. Probably one of the best there is. When I was told that I had cancer, the only thing that gave me hope was hearing I had a 98% chance of beating this thing. Totally doable.

Unfortunately, numbers are tricky, and don’t always apply to everyone the same. Last week when I met with my radiologist, I heard new numbers: 75% to 80%.

It took a while to sink in. After the appointment on the drive back to the hospital I asked my mom, “Wait, did she say 80% in there??” My mom had heard this number somewhere else, so it didn’t surprise her. Me? I wanted my extra 18% back to make it that comfy 98% again.

Truth of the matter is, I have a large mass in my chest that has been deemed “undesirable.” My statistics are still some of the best a person with cancer can get. I have NO DOUBT that I am on the right side of the statistic – the majority chance that the cancer won’t come back when it’s gone (because it’s going, that’s a fact).

But just because I know I’m going to get better, doesn’t mean that the thought of being told I have cancer for a second time around doesn’t scare me. I can fight this thing for a year or two of my life. But fighting another cancer 5 years down the road? It’s scary.

That’s why numbers are just plain stupid. The instil fear into those who don’t need it. They are a sub-par measure of success in a field where nothing is ever guaranteed. I’m done with statistics. All I need to know is that I am on treatment, it’s going to work, and this nightmare will be behind me. For good.

In a post about weighing myself, this is where I’d show you an image of me throwing out the bathroom scale. Instead, I’ll just show off my new hairdo ;)

I have no idea how many inches I lost, but before it was looooong and now it is the shortest I’ve had it since high school! Even if it only lasts a few weeks, I suspect pulling out shorter strands of hair will be less stressful than long ones. I will shave it once it gets to a certain point then probably just wear wigs until it’s at a cute length again.

Close-up:

Just another aspect of my new life with cancer. I can lose my hair, but I won’t ever lose my hope.

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