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Statistics-not for me!

bdean
Posts: 262
Joined: Feb 2001

Hello everyone!
I found this report recently and wanted to share it with all on this site--especially those of you whose doctors have told you that you only have 'x' number of months to live. Mr. Gould, who wrote the report,is a scientist and some of his language was just too technical--so I picked out the most relative statements--with a big dictionary at hand. He was dx in 1982 with a rare cancer and was given '8 months to live'. As a scientist he knew that was not a correct statement, but then thought about how many people would hear that and accept it as fact when, indeed it is not. He trys to explain by starting off quoting one of Mark Twain's quips: 'There are 3 species of mendacity(lies), each one worse than the one before; lies, damned lies, and statistics".
Mr. Gould says when a doctor gives a patient an amount of time left, he is not being totally factual with his patient. By saying '8 months to live'(for example) doesn't mean you will die in 8 months. That number is actually a median time which is an average time that apply only to a prescribed set of circumstances without considering other factors, such as; age, normal health, new treatments since stats were made, an individual's own immune system response, and the fact that everyone reacts differently to treatments. No one can predict your life span based on mere statistics, and no humane doctor will - knowing how vital a good mind set is to recovery. (If doctor plants such a suggestion in your mind, in some people, it could prove disastrous.) Statistics are not an exact truth, they are only numbers created as a base - not as gospel - and should not be said to a patient.
When Mr. Gould asked a friend (who is a Nobel winner in immunology) what he thought the best prescription for success against cancer might be--he was told 'a sanguine personality'. Or you could say one's mental state feeds back upon their immune system.
He states "Attitude clearly matters in fighting cancer. Match people with the same type of cancer, for age, class, health, socioeconomic status; and in general - those with positive attitudes with a strong will and purpose for living; with commitment to struggle with an active response to aiding their own treatment -- and NOT just a passive acceptance of anything their doctors tell them -- tend to live longer!

Of course, most of you know that I believe only God knows when anyone will die - no matter what a 'man' might say. Faith to accept God's will as our own can mean the difference in peace of mind or living in misery. If you are constantly afraid and can only think how horrible all of this is, may mean you need to work more on 'what faith truly means'. To me, it means to pray humbly for mercy - then not worry because it is in God's hands. If you continue to dwell on your problems and keep worrying after you have prayed--then you do not have the faith you really need; because you have not let go and trusted completely in God.
My prayer for all - healthy or ill - is to not worry about the future, but do everything you need to do today. Don't be angry with others, but forgiving. Don't be judgmental but helpful. Don't let life's unimportant happenings get to you. Choose what is important to life and health as your battles and not - who got in front of you or who hurt your feelings. When you see a rainbow--count the colors and admire its beauty rather than rushing off with only saying you are glad it has stopped raining. Praise people--don't criticize. Like my dear grandmother always said, 'if you can't say something nice--don't say anything at all'. Be positive - think positive - react to life in a positive manner. Negatives can only weigh you down. I know this may seem easier said than done, but just once a day try to change your previous attitude. Try it - I think you will really like what you find!
May God bless you and continue His mercy.
Hugs from Brenda

24242
Posts: 1417
Joined: Mar 2001

My mother said the very same thing to me and it has come back to haunt me a time or two. You brought up some very good points that we often forget when dealing with life threatening diseases. Many have said they don't know how I could be so positive that they probably couldn't handle it. I now know that we handle it, what ever it is, doing the best we can.
24242Tara

nancys
Posts: 336
Joined: Aug 2000

Brenda, Thank you for that post, it was very rewarding to read. You do walk with GOD. Love to you, Nancy

gayj
Posts: 40
Joined: Jun 2001

Dear Brenda - Thanks for sharing your summary of the report you read. It's more reason why we need to question these statisftics that are thrown at us and come to our own conclusions. I do think a healthy dose of skepticism, questioning and assertiveness while we're practicing positive thinking, will help us all get through this. And it's important not to deny our fears, hurt, discouragements and grief over losses, but once expressed we need to let them go, and focus on living today. Warmly - Gay

hollykiona
Posts: 16
Joined: May 2001

Brenda and Gay-- Thanks to you both for your messages- valuable insights that I try to apply to my life and sometimes forget. I appreciate the reminders.

Holly

gottod
Posts: 40
Joined: Jan 2001

wonderful advice, love and hugs donna g

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