Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some good news!

Every so often I spend time on the internet reading about colorectal cancer. You would think I would be tired of the subject by now, but I find myself drawn to continue to learn as much as I can, hoping that somehow my knowledge will prevent recurrence! Funny how the mind works...

Dr. Ralph Berberich in his book "Hit Below the Belt" said, "Cancer is never really over unless you die, have an autopsy, and are shown to be cancer free, in which case it is of no interest to you. The passage of time simply reduces the chance of recurrence, but it never completely eliminates it."

I imagine that every cancer survivor, as some point, ponders the possibility of recurrence - How would that feel? What would I do? What would that mean? - And then you shake those thoughts from your mind and try to go on living.

Studies of people with my initial diagnosis of stage three rectal cancer have shown that there is a 51% survival rate at five years. Those odds don't really sound too positive! But just this week, on one of my regular internet cancer searches, I came across some amazing news! New research published on August 25, 2010 in the journal The Lancet Oncology has shown that patients with a diagnosis of stage three rectal cancer who show a pathological complete response to neoadjuvant radiation and chemotherapy have a 83.3% five year disease free survival rate! That may sound like complete mumbo jumbo to you, but to me, it sounds like LIFE!!!  To put it in layman's terms, the study showed that people who were treated initially with radiation and oral chemotherapy whose cancer responded by dying off completely (which is my story!) have an increased five year survival rate from 51% to 83.3%!!! That's a jump of 32.3 percentage points!!  That's crazy good news!!  In my opinion, it might as well be 100% now! There is no chance this cancer is coming back!

As happy as this new report makes me feel, God reminds me that my life is not dependent on medical reports or even on five year cancer survival rates. All along it has been dependent on Him - on HIS plans, on HIS timetable, on HIS grace. I've been free all along! Free to live...

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