The other night on 20/20 there was a segment about whether or not attitude can influence survival or not. There was this high faluting doctor explaining how his "study" showed it had no influence. There was no discernible difference between someone who had thrown their hands up in the air and gave up, and someone who had hope and faith and determination to beat their illness.
They even used the example of Gabby Gifford. Her recovery they said was due 100% to the trajectory of the bullet. So none of us Cancer survivors have any power over our destiny. We have no influence over the speed of our recovery, or our recovery at all... We are after all victims of our circumstances and we should just "let the doctors do their best and accept our fate."
Sorry if I see it, smell it, hear it I have to call it. BULLSHIT.
I posted something on Facebook and got a lot of feedback. "
I believe your attitude does matter when it comes to survival. I find it sanctimonious and annoying when people insist it makes no difference. I pity people with so little belief in things outside themselves. Attitude won't change everything, but it makes the best of what you are given and then some. But to blame a person’s death or illness on not believing enough that is the height of arrogance."
It must be my rage over this struck a cord so I thought I should blog about this as a follow up.
I feel sorry for those people who cannot accept there are things outside our knowledge, things like miracles, that have no explanation but exist none the less. Miracles do happen. Someone who was told they have days to live, sometimes find they live for years. For me, I owe my survival to many things. If my Cancer did anything it reminded me that it is up to us to fight for our own lives.
I listened to the Doctors. I followed the most aggressive course. I prayed. I allowed the people around me to pray and hold me up. I survived because I did everything I could to survive. Others don't survive, why? I only know about me and I know it made a difference.
There have been several times when other's arrogance and ignorance, personal fear and powerlessness have led to the most hateful evil kind of help. "God must be punishing you. You had better get right with God." Oh yes they did say that. The Doctor saying "attitude will not help your survival" and the idiot who says "Cancer is God's punishment" are both cut out of the same sorry cloth. Elitist, arrogant, sanctimonious and dangerous.
When my Mother was dying from Cancer, there were a couple of those moments. One was sitting at a card table with my parent's investment counselor who said to my Mother, "When you die you won't be seeing your father. He didn't go to church so he will be in hell and you Bettie will be going to Heaven." I watched as I saw the light die in her eyes, her hope and love disappeared at the sound of this man's words. I grabbed his arm and looked him in the eye and said "Really? Well if my grandfather is in Hell and you are in Heaven please God send me to Hell because he had more love and compassion in him in his little finger than you have in your entire body. I feel sorry for you." I still am angry that at the end of my mother's life somoneone would choose to hurt her like that. So when I hear some holier than thou Doctor pontificate over his study, which in his mind is the same as "holy words" I get angry. Angry because his small mindedness might just cost someone hope and no one should feel they have the right to do that.
Did the Doctor mean it doesn't matter if you lengthen or improve your life, because you will die anyway? If that is the case ok, he's right. We all die. But how we live is ALL up to us. What we believe is ALL up to us. The quality of the time we have on this earth is up to us. The joy we find in each day is up to us. And I believe that can be a difference between us.
If Cancer ever knocks at my door again. I will look it in the eye like I did before. I will acknowledge it for a formidable foe and I will fight. I will fight until I can't fight anymore. That is MY choice. And now, now that I am Cancer free, I will continue the fight so there will never be a day when the arrogance and ignorance of people join forces with Cancer to kill the light in the eyes of people I love. That is my choice. It doesn't have to be yours, but you should never let someone else tell you there is no choice. There is. What would your choice be?
And on that note... I am going to walk to work.
P.S. I am half way to my minimum fundraising goal because there are people out there that believe we CAN end Breast Cancer. If you want to get me to the minimum goal by the end of the year DONATE.
And if you want to walk in 2012, find a walk and join it. Use the code CURE2012 to get a discount on the registration. If you want to walk with me, send me a message and let's talk.