When faced with cancer, you are constantly being presented with statistics. Or in my case, being presented and personally researching statistics. This has me thinking a lot about numbers recently. Here are some numbers that are on my mind.
1. I had a .6% chance of developing cancer as a healthy 35 year old.
2. Being diagnosed with cancer is a whirlwind of doctor's appointments. I have consulted with my primary care physician, surgical oncologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, (2)plastic surgeons, nutritionist and soon a naturopath. This has resulted in 20 doctor's appointments since January 13th. That is at least 2 appointments per week for 3 months straight. I have three more appointments next week.
3. When I fill out my 'new patient information forms' (which I do quite often recently) I don't have to check any health problems with the exception of occasional heartburn and now cancer. Checking cancer freaks me out.
4. I've never needed surgery. Since January 20th I have had two surgeries requiring general anesthesia, one with heavy sedation, and two procedures.
5. Interestingly I was given 40 pain pills post lumpectomy and only 30 post mastectomy. Mastectomy (with tissue expander) is much more painful than lumpectomy.
6. I have had a little less than 200grams of tissue removed from my body. This is a little less than .5 pounds. As a cyclist, this inches up my power to weight ratio just a little bit:) I do not recommend removing body parts to improve power to weight ratio though. Also, I am not accounting for the weight of the tissue expander. Maybe I will ask my Plastic surgeon how much this weighs for more accurate measurements.
7. I was told that there is a 1% chance per year of developing a new cancer in my other breast over the next ten years. If I take hormones for 5 years this is reduced by 50% so there is a 5% chance of developing a new cancer in my other breast.
8. According to my Oncotype Dx score (gene expression of my tumor) my risk of distant recurrence (this cancer coming back somewhere else in my body) with hormone therapy alone is 13% over 10 years. Chemotherapy reduces this by 4-5%. I chose to undergo chemotherapy and get that 4-5% reduction.
9. I like to ride bikes. I also seem to collect bikes. I currently have 7!!!!! bikes. I have two carbon fiber 29er hardtails, one carbon fiber 26" full suspension, two cross bikes, a 26" single speed, and a road bike. I like to ride all of my bikes.
10. I have worked in the school system at my current job since 2005. I use on average 1 sick day/year and I don't go to work sick (which would skew the statistics). Somehow my immune system is strong enough to prevent me from getting sick even though I am exposed to sick children daily, yet I develop cancer at 35 years old. I will never understand this, I am working on coming to terms with it.
11. I am currently on a plant-based diet based on the recommendation to primarily eat plant-based foods to reduce risk of cancer. A funny story related to this is when Shannon and I stayed at the Bed and Breakfast by Colorado National Monument a few weeks ago. Instead of bringing a cooler full of wine, we brought a cooler full of leafy greens! I have had animal product exactly 2 times over the past six weeks. A friend brought over fresh Elk chili. It was yummy.
12. I have never taken supplements, pretty much just a daily vitamin. Now I take a daily vitamin,a calcium supplement, a vitamin D supplement, and a fish oil supplement.
13. I am an extremely healthy person, however I am going to make myself very sick because of a 2cm tumor that I found myself. I often wonder what my life would be like right now if I never found that 'nodule'.
14. I think (based on this post) it is clear that when I'm not keeping myself busy working, cycling, visiting, and doing other fun things that I have toooo much time to think.