Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Unwanted Journey: Day 1161 - Cancer and the Improbable


One of my friends asked me yesterday how frequently Avastin treatments resulted in severely damaging consequences for MCRC (metastatic colorectal cancer) patients. I don't know the precise measure, just that statistically the percentage is very, very low.


Again we're back to an interesting phenomenon. The percentage of those receiving Avastin with toxic results is low. But for me personally, those statistics don't matter at all. You might say that even though terrible toxic results were highly improbable for the general population, for me they were almost absolute (100%).

But my question today is this. If highly improbable, and very damaging, events can occur for me personally, making my journey with cancer even deadlier, why can't improbable events occur at a personal level which twist the road towards happier, healthier destinations?

I'm not saying that I should ignore evidence and simply wish on a star. But I am saying that "black swan" events do occur, have already occurred in my own journey, and may well occur again. Why not consider the possibility that the results will be positive? In other words, if I'm feeling stronger and healthier these days, is it too much of a stretch to wonder if this might continue?

My friend (whose father died of colorectal cancer) often asks how I'm feeling. What he means is, apart from the medical test results and measures, how is my appetite, my energy levels, my interest and enthusiasm for life? If my answers to those questions are generally favourable, then act accordingly.

When you blend such folk wisdom with what we are learning these days about the impact of the highly improbable, there may be reason for me personally to celebrate. I don't know what tomorrow may bring, but today the sun is shining, the coffee tastes good, the book I'm reading is insightful and thought-provoking, and my wife has just come in the front door ready for a hug and a kiss - a good day.

1 comment:

brie said...

Sunshine (finally!), a hot cup of coffee, a good book, and a person you love to hug ..... such are the true riches of life ..... May you have many :-)