Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A Life for Living

It’s been a while since I thought about it but today as I was doing some filing I came across the figures from the Adjuvant! Online (why the exclamation mark?!) database that Suzy Cleator gave me back when we first embarked on chemotherapy. As I’ve explained in the past, the medics can’t give a prognosis for any individual cancer patient, but they can give one the survival statistics for people whose circumstances are similar to one’s own.

Taking into account the type, grade and size of my tumour, my age and the treatments that I have had (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and tamoxifen), the statistics are as follows:

81.6% of people are alive, without relapse, after ten years.
87.6% are alive after ten years.
16.6% will have relapsed within ten years.
11.6% will have died of cancer within ten years.
1.8% will have died of other causes within ten years.

So my chances are good. Taking care of my diet and keeping fit can only make them better. On the down side, I have been through some severe emotional trauma and depression both of which can have a negative effect. Not to mention six months of smoking.

It seems wise to be aware of all possibilities. I figure that if I have a five-year plan for my life then I won’t be disappointed. The truth is none of us know how long we’ve got. I’m lucky that the life I’ve had up until now has been rich and varied. I’ve been paralysed. I’ve been homeless. I’ve had troubles with drugs and alcohol. I’ve travelled all over the world. I’ve done glamorous jobs and met famous people. I’ve had wonderful friends and terrible boyfriends. As in the words of the Spooks song: "You won't believe the things I've seen Far beyond your wildest dreams I've seen chaos and order reign supreme..." Life certainly has not been boring. With the diagnosis of cancer, I have been given a perfect excuse to live my life to the full and be happy, right now.

So, I’ve started a list of things that I want to do in the next five years (in no particular order):

Move to Sydney – but keep my ties with the UK

Visit London at least once a year

Write a bestseller, in my own name

Do a big fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Haven

Learn to scuba dive

Go scuba diving in New Guinea and the Great Barrier Reef

Have a holiday in Iceland

Love the people who love me – and don’t waste time on those who don’t

Sing on stage in a glamorous, long dress

Ride the Ghan railway from Adelaide to Darwin

Go camping

Repay all my debts

Spend time with Miranda and Eloise

Organise a family holiday in Goa with Ben and Amazon-Rainforest

Earn enough money to take care of my mum

Make a film

Grow vegetables

Catch mud crabs and cook them on the beach

Have a big party and invite all of my friends

Fly a helicopter

Sleep in the desert

Buy a flat in Sydney and do it up

Buy a beach shack

Have a bum lift

Fall in love - and have a partner to do all these wonderful things with

Get married

Be well

Be happy

I’m going to pin my list in the sidebar of this blog so that I can always see it. I will update it from time to time.

p.s. Although I have provided a link to Adjuvant! Online, I don't recommend that you use it on your own. The information can be confusing and might be emotionally overwhelming. I suggest that you refer to this database with the help and support of your consultant surgeon or oncologist.