(2007) I just read a news article that reported on a study in which it was determined that attitude has nothing to do with cancer survival. People with a completely dismal attitude apparently fared just as well, or poorly, as those who looked on the bright side. You have no idea how my eyes were rolling just now as I typed "the bright side." The bright side of cancer? PLEASE.
Which reminds me. I ran into a woman the other day who asked how I was doing (which happens all the time and won't stop until I have hair again) and I said that everything was going great so far and that I wished my hair would come back faster so I could pretend this whole thing never happened. She said something like "Oh but I'm sure you learned some life lessons from it." Wow. Only someone who has NOT experienced the thrill of a thousand blood draws and five months of extremely expensive voluntary poisoning every three weeks could say something like that. Quicker than I care to admit, I answered "The only positive thing that has come from this disease is that my sister and I have grown closer and that would have happened if she had been the one who had cancer." Implying that this would have been easier on me, which I am not convinced would have been the case. I think my sister suffered more than I did in some ways. Anyway, my friend stopped looking for my silver lining at that point. I learned a long time ago that no one appreciates it if you point out the silver linings of their clouds.
Back to attitude schmattitude.
So they have shown that attitude does nothing for survival, at least when it comes to cancer. Of course, it makes the treatment period less odious and probably makes dying less traumatic (I won't know this for a while, thank heavens and Dr. Wolf), so having a good attitude isn't without merit. It just doesn't make survival more likely. Which means that IF you are in control of your attitude, and I don't believe you are in control of your attitude, you still aren't in control of your medical outcome. So whether or not you respond to your chemo or other treatment plan is not up to you. Add cancer to the list of junk that is out of your control except to the extent that you can cut your risk factors.
And, except to the extent that you can cut your risk factors, getting cancer isn't your fault either. One of the pictures that raced through my mind when that first doctor said "It's cancer" was the number of bags of grapes that I dug into, unwashed (the grapes and me), as I drove home from the grocery store. I had eaten unwashed grapes. Frequently. Later, it was "I took hormone replacement therapy. I thought about people I disliked intensely. Thought about intensely and disliked intensely. I wasn't positive enough. I quit yoga. I ate red meat and bacon, sometimes together. Red dye #2. Aspartame. Coffee. Inorganic (?) vegetables just to save a few bucks." It was probably all my fault. I believe my head went in that direction because if it were all my fault that I got it, it stood to reason that getting shed of it would be something under my control, too.
Which brings us to the subject of what I don't want to see in my obituary: "She died after a long battle with ovarian cancer." Battle, my ass. If this thing does end up killing me, it wasn't because I lost a battle. If it had been a battle, I'd have won. It was just a disease that my body couldn't shake fast enough or long enough for old age to kill me.
Anyway, I'm in remission now. My doctor says that she has patients who came in with stage 4, as I did, who went through the treatment I endured and are still cancer-free after 12 years. And even more hopefully, she has patients who had to undergo a second course of chemo but have since gone 12 years without a recurrence so even if it comes back, I have a decent chance. When you add the fact that there is research going on right now that could completely change the prognosis then the future looks even better.
In a way, I wish attitude did count.
Donner Party Famine: 159 Year Anniversary
I wonder what made October 28, 1847, the Donner Party famine anniversary? Was that the day they ran out of food? Was it the day they ran out of draft animals? Was it when the first person died of starvation? Was it when they got really really hungry? What marks the opening bell for a famine?