Learning to Accept and Live with the Statistics
I’m not going to lie, sometimes I forget that I had cancer. That brief moment of bliss and detachment is the hardest part to cope with because once I snap back into reality, I wonder. Why me?
Looking to the research
The first thing I did when I got home from hearing the news, besides cry, of course, is go to Google. Specifically, I turned to academic research. For the next 3 weeks, my family went back and forth with each other sharing articles with contradicting results – some good and some bad. It was draining to read it all, wondering what side of the statistics I would be on.
What did the statistics say?
The magic word in all of this is the word statistics. I’ve been told to trust science, my doctors, and statistics. But honestly, the statistics failed me the first time. The most interesting part of it all is that I was on the wrong side of the statistics. I tried to find where I fall on the curve. Less than 1,000 women under the age of 30 in the U.S. are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. How did I end up as one of those 1,000? How did I end up being one of the people to get this horrible disease so young?
The emotions I have felt throughout this whole process have been too many to keep track of. But, there are a few emotions that do stick out to me. Sometimes I feel cursed by God. Maybe I could have prevented this and it’s my fault that I got cancer. Sometimes I feel special being singled out to go through this horrendous journey to become a better person for those in my life.
I also felt that out of any point in time, why now? I feared that if the cancer would take me now, I wouldn't have even been able to get a chance to live out my dreams. But I remembered the statistics. I am 1 of the 21,000 people diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in the U.S. But what’s even more drastic is that I am 1 in 7.7 billion people on this earth.
Looking at the bigger picture
It is hard to conceptualize a billion units, let alone millions. But I know for sure that I am not the only one that has felt they were on the wrong side of the statistics. So many people go through other traumatic events that force them to face their mortality earlier than we feel is deserved.
When I was first diagnosed, I imagined God looking down on earth at the 7.7 billion people and pointing directly at me to give me ovarian cancer. But now that seems so vain of me to think I was special enough to go through something so horrible. I could have been dealt many other cards besides cancer that would have sucked (probably) just as much.
My life seems so minuscule when I view the statistics. Using the word minuscule may seem that I am invalidating my own experience and the gravity of it. But, for me, it is almost comforting. Realizing I am 1 person among the 7.7 billion who has ovarian cancer has taught me to not be afraid of the statistics. After all, they are just numbers that change as more data becomes available.
Living life regardless of the statistics
So, while the statistics are always evolving, so am I. Regardless of where I fall in the midst of all those numbers, I can choose whether I to pay attention to them or not. I choose whether or not to give those numbers control over how I live my life. Because I fell on the wrong side of the statistics, does that mean my life stops? I don't think so. Although I do not have control over the statistics, I do have control over whether I look at them, manipulate them, or give them power over me. I will be safe, but I will not be fearful. While I know what may come before me in due time, I refuse to let that stop me from living.
I was diagnosed with...