Often when you read or hear about survival rates for women with breast cancer today the news is portrayed as good, in fact, REALLY good. And no doubt it is far better than even a mere decade ago. Plus there's lots of hope for further, even more rapid improvements in the near future, certainly.
Official survival statistics are usually expressed in terms of percentages. Take for instance "Stage I breast cancer" which is the stage it is (so far) assumed I am at. That staging touts as high as a 90% survival rate. Wow, how great! Oh, except...
...that's only for 5 years.
After that the survival rate goes down. And down. Until finally we get to 20 years and the rate has dropped to 64%. I haven't found any good statistics beyond that, which if you ask me doesn't bode well. So, in 20 years 64 out of every 100 women who had Stage I Breast Cancer will be alive. The other 36 women...
Okay, I don't want to be morose or defeatist, but I really hate these odds. I mean, I know I should be thinking positive and hope I'm in that group of 64 that's still alive in 20 years. And yeah, sure, the odds could be worse. But they could be a whole lot better too.
I suppose maybe at some point I'll get all into appreciating my life in the moment and living for today about this. But I am soooooo not there right now. Right now I'm heartbroken. Right now I'm pissed off. Right now, I'm scared out of my fraggin mind.
In twenty years I'll only be 65. Sixty-Five! That's still so young. Megan will only be near 28 and Daniel will be just half-past 22. Will I see my children live the prime of their lives? Will I get to see any of my grandchildren? Will Michael and I have some time to enjoy our "golden years" together? These are the type of questions often in the back of most people's minds as they age...but they just got moved to the forefront of mine, big time.
I know I can't reduce my own individual lifespan to a math equation...and that my life won't suddenly end at some magical statistical moment, of course. Sure, I plan to do alot of stuff to up my odds (oh my, you have no idea -- that's a whole 'nother blog in and of itself!) Yes, I know alot of people are going to say I shouldn't be thinking like this. But they also probably don't have cancer.
I do, and it's starting to sink in. And I am really sad today.