Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Dreaded Statistics


I think all cancer patients (and their families) have a mutual hate of statistics. We don't like to read them, we don't like to talk about them, and we sure don't like to hear them from our doctors. My wonderful Wizard and the great Dr. Glinda (AKA my oncologist and surgical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) do not speak of statistics. They stays clear of those numbers. Like they say, it's just numbers of groups of many different types of people. It's not 1000 Chelsea's.

I'm currently reading the memoir "Signs of Life" by Natalie Taylor. Natalie, a married & pregnant 24 year old high school teacher, loses her husband in a freak accident. Towards the middle of the book, Natalie discusses statistics with her high school students. In her case, she's talking about how--statistically-- low income students with a single parent- have less of a chance of being high achievers. Natalie, a newly single mom, says, "And to be honest with you, I don't really care what the statistics say. I know that statistically things are not exactly in our favor (82).

Ah, I can relate to this. Things not being in our favor? Sounds familiar. And I get it. Statistically, things don't look great for advanced melanoma patients. However, it's not just the patients who need to be nervous. It's everyone! We need to start treating our skin like we do our other organs. Skin cancer--and especially melanoma--is on the rise! The Skin Cancer Foundation says that 1 in 5 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime. 1 in 5 people, y'all. 

Yikes.


When the numbers become too scary--and they do--I remind myself that I am not a statistic. Like Natalie Taylor, in her memoir "Signs of Life", I also believe "that statistics are just that--statistics. Numbers that represent a study that someone performed on a group of people. But they certainly are not my destiny, nor are they yours" (83).

Amen, girlfriend, Amen.

1 comment:

Brooklyn McKenna said...

Love your mission. Following now :)