What’s the weather forecast tomorrow where you live? Mine? A 60% chance of rain. It may rain or it may not. If it does rain it will probably be just in the evening. It may rain downtown but not at my house. Or it may rain two days later. The weather forecast is a prediction of chances. So is a cancer prognosis. A prognosis is nothing more than a prediction. It’s a cancer forecast.
The Name Game
When I found out I had a rare type of cancer (.4% of chance) the cancer forecast was all over the place. Every time a doctor told me “their” prognosis the Name Game song played through my head. You know the one?
Bo-ber-ley, bo-na-na fanna
Fo-fer-ley. fee fi mo-mer-ley, Kimba!
If you listen long enough you recognize that the jibber jabber has a pattern, even though the pattern doesn’t quite make sense. I had a 50/50 chance of survival, for how long is anyone’s guess. A 90% chance of reoccurrence. There was a 70% to 80% chance of the tumor not coming back. And I had a 50% chance of living 10 years.
Seat of the Pants
I was chatting with a friend who is currently in treatment and he said, “Kimba, these doctors are flying by the seat of their pants.” It’s true. Some estimates project that 50% of all cancers are rare. Rare means the medical community doesn’t know much about it because it’s dramatically underfunded. So, when you don’t have solid research you can’t really give a prognosis. They do their best with what they’ve got.
I love the doctor who told me it was anybody’s guess. There are no clinical trials for the type of cancer I had. The information doctors have about my type of tumor is based on a few medical records. When you are working with a small group, you may not have consistent information about health, age, tumor size, surgery complication and even pathology reports. After reading several hundred peer reviewed articles, I took what information I could and decided to let the prognosis go. I didn’t need the extra drama.
But what if you have a “known” cancer? What about that prognosis? When I first started my healing journey, I watched the Heal Documentary directed by Kelly Noonan Gores. If you haven’t seen this documentary, I highly recommend it. Dr. Deepak Chopra is one of the guests. He said something that really resonated with me, “believe the diagnosis but not the prognosis.” Yes, because no one can predict when you will die. And I believe you do have the power to influence the prognosis. In his new book Cured, Dr. Jeffery Rediger says that those who used self-help therapies lived 3 times longer than those with low self-involvement. In other words, those who seek ways to heal their mind, body and Spirit live longer.
Changing the Conditions
The weather forecast has a lot of variables based on changing conditions. And guess what? So does your prognosis. You can change the conditions through self-healing. Please understand the healing is not the same thing as curing. Doctors focus on curing through treatments. Healing is a personal journey in which you are 100% in control. You can change the conditions. That change looks different for different people. If you are unsure what changes to make, ask your cancer why it came and what needs to be done for it to leave. These are soul questions and not to be taken lightly. Be still and listen for the answers.
For me, the answers to those questions came over time. I’ve been changing the conditions for the past 17 months. Love, joy and gratitude guide my thoughts. My body is a temple fueled with organic food, exercise and yoga. My morning starts and my day ends with prayer for myself and others. I meditate on the beautiful being of light that I am. The biggest change has been putting myself first and speaking up. My life purpose changed to helping others use their creativity, healing energy and spiritual connections to deepen their own souls.
This has been my journey and it still continues. Your journey will look different. The main takeaway is that those who participated in self-help lived longer. You can change the conditions.
Chance of Rain
We all know that it will eventually rain. We might not know when, but it will come. You don’t need a forecaster to tell you that. And so will all of my doctor’s predictions. Death is the goal for everyone.
Knowing it was going to rain, I got busy and made a plan. I did my advance directives, made a will, selected a chapel, and made arrangements for my cremation. When the perfect time comes, I will leave my loved ones here and join my ancestors in our celestial home. In the meantime, I’m not going to worry about the forecast. I probably won’t even carry an umbrella. My goal is to live each day to the fullest, rain or shine.