Cancer – numbers

One of the things that has become clear to Rita and me is that cancer has a whole lot in common with the gaming industry. It is about the numbers. (What follows are numbers that have be told to us by doctors, nurses and medical professionals; any mistakes in reporting are mine.) It goes something like this: 1 in 8 women (12.5%) will develop breast cancer sometime in their lives. Of the women who get a lumpectomy, 20% will require a follow-up surgery. In addition 20% of the women who have Rita’s form of cancer will see a reoccurrence. This can be reduced to 14% through 4 to 6 weeks of radiation and a regiment of tamoxifen for 5 years. Reoccurrence can be reduced another 2% by extending the tamoxifen for another 5 years.

On the surface all of this sounds wonderful. The odds are on our side.

Now this is what I hear: 1 in 8 and Rita is the 1. After Rita’s surgery the news came back that a second surgery was needed. We ended up on the wrong side, the 20% group. Radiation and tamoxifen will decrease the possibility of reoccurrence. What is going to prevent Rita from being on the short side of the stick? Now when someone says there is an 85% chance of success I wonder about the 15% group, after all being on the short-side is starting to feel familiar.

I want to know that everything is going to be OK. I want God to write in the sky or let me know in a dream that God has got this. It hasn’t happened. Our friends, co-workers, and family are supportive. They believe that we are going to beat this. On my good days I agree. Other days hope fades.

The Apostle Paul talks about faith, hope, and love. I can say that our love is strong. Our faith has been shaken. And then there is hope. Hope for healing. Hope for a future. Hope that we beat the odds.