Some thoughts on living with cancer (part 1)

September 21, 2020
  • September 21, 2020
  • Cancer blog

By Gary Maavara

It is four years since my cancer diagnosis. I have learned a great deal since then and thought I would share some of it. I will offer these thoughts and insights in a series of posts over the coming weeks. I hope it is helpful. 

This is also a work in progress so let me know what you think even if you think it’s junk. I can handle the feedback.

I will also include some of my personal photography. This pursuit has brought me immense joy throughout my life. Enjoy but please don’t repost my photos.

I apologize in advance for any trite statements.

It is about me so it might not be right for you, which brings me to my first point. 

#1. Everyone is different.

Cancer is one of those afflictions that come with statistics. People and statistics might tell you will only live for another ____ months, years, days, etc. There is a ____ % chance of a cure.

Blah blah blah.

These numbers are all averages or means or mediums or mid points etc.  Statistics are also a description of an aspect of the past. They are built on information that is usually at least a year old. And the statistics are not about you, so don’t use the statistics as a solid road map. You may be worse or better than the average but the only person who matters is you.

Science meanwhile continues to march forward. Our knowledge and treatments are evolving quickly. So the measures of what happened in the past might not be the roadmap for you. Your focus should be on your future.

#2. Our bodies are complex.

This is related to my first point. We are enormously complex entities and my experience is that everyone’s disease has some attributes that are similar and some that are not. 

There are an estimated 30 trillion cells in each person, so imagine the number of combinations of differences. Remember that everyone is different. Knowing about how other people with the same disease are doing is helpful but the variables are so numerous and weighted in various ways. 

Sharing information is important but don’t use it as a measure. Focus on yourself. What is happening to others is good to know but it’s not a map or a bobsled run.

Keep checking back for more points on lessons I’ve learned, and if you’re so inclined – send along your thoughts.

This shot was taken at Vermillion Lake in Banff, Alberta. I thought this was appropriate here, as the huge rockface illustrates the magnitude of the bad news.

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