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spicysashimi

Stage IV Survival Poll

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Husband diagnosed 1 day before 68th birthday 22 months ago.

Caveat: He has been on some type of therapy for 19 of the 22 months and never in remission. Close -- but no cigar. :wink:

I'm beginning to think it boils down to the luck of the draw.

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We're counting on you, Aaron. :)

And I'm not saying this in a bold attempt to make you feel better, but I believe you can do it and have those years be NORMAL, without flitting back and forth for tests every week.

The one thing I would disagree with from an earlier post is that *attitude* won't make a difference. Of course it will. Look at the physical condition of any clinically depressed person and then try to argue that their mental state has nothing to do with that rash or boil. The mind is constantly altering the way our bodies respond to the social environment, the physical environment and just about everything else. And if someone suggests that a rash or boil can't be compared to cancer, I'd argue strenuously that it can -- but I'm not going to argue it here. :)

That some people live and some people die as a direct result of their cancer, I'd agree is not a reflection of a good or bad attitude. I could have a great attitude and still die from it -- but for sure, if I allowed myself to embrace the negative and downbeat outlook I had last week then this cancer would easily get its way. I'm going to make darn sure that doesn't happen.

You're going to die one day, Aaron ... but that day's a helluva long way off.

Bill

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Ummmm....do I dare say anything in this one? Oh sure (statistics background and all :D )......

I agree with Bill and others that attitude DOES matter to what can be to a BIG significant degree. I'll tell you why, based on my statistics background:

When we do what's called regression analysis (that's using past data to try to predict the outcome on another sample facing a future outcome that we're studying) there is ALWAYS a "leftover value," if you will, that comes out of the analysis -- a bit of prediction "error" that didn't make our predictions 100% (how big that error is depends on the quality of the study design and the questions asked too)......

What we search for in this analysis is to explain as many things as possible to fit a line of expected outcome.......OK, I don't want to get too complicated, but good researchers go nuts if they see a lot of what are called "outlier observations" -- those suckers just don't conform to the line of expectation to predict an outcome on; too many outliers and the researcher better go back to the drawing board and re-do his/her model of prediction.

ATTITUDE is a huge factor in this battle that researchers don't typically put into study design to make predictions on -- they actually can't do that well. For a fighting spirit attitude to accurately reflect in research results, it absolutely must be believed/internalized by the person (i.e. not lip service...real "I'm gonna' beat this thing" alive and well in a person). Saying the fight is on and living/feeling it as so inside are two different things....no one else can really tell the difference (they aren't in the other's skin to know the difference), only each individual knows the truth of that.

That said, it doesn't mean anyone would "fail" by not having the "right attitude" either -- there are how many other factors at play in that outcome prediction? Many.

Nonetheless, if folks don't get anything else out of what I just said, a deep and abiding feeling of beating this thing (no matter what the world tries to throw up there as a barrier to that) does do wonders -- we're out to prove that here.....one day at a time.

I could prove that attitude matters further via a long discussion on the workings of quantum mechanics and their influence on reality, but let's just save that one for another future time :wink: .

All the best to everyone.....what you believe matters immensely and there is science out there to support that -- never, ever give up on the dreams you have for yourself,

Linda

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Below is an excerpt from Richard Bloch ‘s “Letter to newly diagnosed cancer patients” just in case you did not get there.

You can go and read the entire letter.

http://www.blochcancer.org

"There is a saying that it takes 6 things to beat cancer. First is the best possible medical treatment. Second is the best possible medical treatment. Third, fourth and fifth are the best medical treatment. Sixth is a positive mental attitude. Without all 6, you don't have a chance. But look at it in that perspective and relative importance. A positive mental attitude is not burying your head in the sand and saying' "I'm going to get well." It is doing everything within your power in addition to medicine to help yourself recover."

It's worth reading the rest.

Stay positive, :)

Ernie

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Right on Ernie. Because the first 5 are changing and evolving all the time as treatment information/knowledge changes. The 6th one (positive, unwavering attitude) holds steadfast in it's intent to overcome and adapt no matter what's going on in the day to day flurry of uncertainty inherent in the first 5.

Linda

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Just my little blip about positive attitude...take it or leave it...I'm just thinking while typing! LOL

Could it be that those with a "positive attitude" tend to be even more proactive in their care giving the impression that the attitude is what is helping?

Again...this is a touchy subject because it's easy to jump from "positive attitude will help" to "you must not have been positive enough" and that's SO not what any of us want to say, I'm sure. I DO believe attitude is helpful but I can't say that it's any more helpful than the care that Mom's been getting from the doctors...or that this isn't just what was in the cards in the first place.

Either way...I want this darn disease wiped out!!

xoxoxo

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Statistic's are what politician's use to make you believe in there agenda's and the Stat's question's are usually fixed so you have to answer in a way favorable to them. I'm not so sure that Cancer stat's are not used the same way. My wife's bio given below is our own personal stat. I also had a friend that had lung cancer and then prostrate cancer to only have the lung cancer come back eleven year's later and he died. I have another person i know who's wife was stage 4 and lost a lung over 15 year's ago and she is still alive. And i've heard of other people still living year's later a pretty normal life with lung cancer. As for attitude Nurses all tell me it is one of the most important thing for healing and survival. There you got my 2.5 cent's worth on this subject....

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I don't mean to hijack Aaron's thread, but I do wish to respond to Linda's remarks about statistics, survival and attitude.

At one time, attitude or fighting spirit (usually measured in terms of optimism-pessimism or coping style) was thought to influence survival. Like much cancer research, these studies were done on women with breast cancer*. This alone raises serious concerns about how applicable the findings are to men and women with lung cancer; the prognosis is very different and gender influences coping style.

At the time, this finding was so intriguing it was widely reported and taken by many people as truth.

As Linda ably explained, there is room for (a lot of) error in survival prediction, and perhaps coping style can account for some of this error. Unfortunately, subsequent studies (again primarily in women with breast cancer, although some other studies have been done, e.g., in prostate cancer) have not upheld the earlier findings about attitude as a direct influence on survival.

What the studies have consistently shown, however, is that coping style influences quality of life. Any effect of attitude on survival is indirect therefore - as Missy said, those who are more proactive (which is related to being more optimistic and more action-focused) are more involved in their care and thus more likely to seek out the best therapies, ask questions, do their own research, etc., which may influence their individual survival. And indeed, those with better QOL do live longer, although this may be for a plethora of reasons other than attitude (like severity of symptoms, spirituality, social support, and so forth). The strength and direction of the cause-and-effect relationship between QOL and survival is not well understood.

The science is imperfect because we human beings are just so darn complex it is impossible to perfectly separate out all the factors that influence survival. A partial list: social support, coping style, disease stage, symptom severity, coexisting illnesses, prediagnosis health status, treatment, finances, personal health habits, spirituality, genetic inheritance, etc. etc. So you see the problem - any one study that examined all these factors (which are the ones I picked out of my head, there are undoubtedly more) would have to enroll thousands and thousands of people to sort out all these factors. Thus, survival prediction relies upon a limited set of only the most powerful factors, which are currently described as cancer type, stage and treatment.

A MissyK said, it's easy to jump from "positive attitude will help" to "you must not have been positive enough" - and that worries me.

My bottom line is: a positive attitude is something to nurture and maintain, and if you can do so, that is wonderful. But the very nature of this disease makes it impossible to stay upbeat continuously, so don't flog yourself for being down from time to time. If you can't recover from an "attitude slump" seek out your health care provider and/or a professional counselor, preferably one with cancer counseling expertise.

And take those statistics with a heaping tablespoon of salt.

*The psychological motivators in our society for the extensive studies of coping among women with breast cancer is a rich topic for discussion in another thread at another time.

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What about losing the will to live, regardless of one's health? My grandparents were married for over sixty years, my grandmother passed away and my grandfather lasted about six weeks. This also happened with my husbands grandparents.

Laura

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Hi Aaron,

I just want to add one more "stay strong" voice to the chorus coming your way. Our doctor told us a story recently. I'll just copy it here:

Our oncologist told us a story a couple weeks ago of one of his lung cancer patients. He got to a point where there weren't a lot of medical options left. He pressed our doctor for a timeframe, because he owned a construction business and wanted to have everything in order. Our doctor reluctantly guessed 6 to 9 months. That was SEVEN YEARS ago, and the guy still comes in for his checks and, as you might guess, won't listen to any prognosis ever again.

As my hubby often says to our neighbors, "it's never over until the fat lady sings -- and if you see a fat lady outside our window, get your shotgun out quick!" :wink:

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When people talk about positive attitude, why on earth would anyone want to put a negative spin on that? Is the objective simply to strip away every tool that doesn't conform to the left hemisphere of the brain? Or is it merely the ego that's at work here?

All the knowledge, experience, logic, and eloqence would be put to better use on the science. Leave people something to fight with, even if you disagree. It may be the only thing they have.

Bill

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AMEN to that, Bill. Couldn't agree more.....

Aaron, Mum was 66 at diagnosis with stage IV NSCLC, and she survived 25 months. I would love to see a re-vamp of the 'official' statistics! Good luck!

All the best,

Karen

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I have an article that is in a PDF file so I can not post it. If any one would like it they can e-mail me and I will attach it and send it back or I may take the time to retype it and post it. It is about people given a pain medication where the drug would cause a gland to secret a pain killer. People that were given a placebo not only had a reduction in pain, but the gland actually produced the pain killer. The conclusion was that what people expected actually had a bearing on there condition. Now you can dispute this but a blind study says it is so.

Stay positive, :)

Ernie

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I'm pretty sure what I had to say will spark some responses, and that's okay -- a debate is always a good thing. But this is Aaron's thread, so a new topic (if necessary) should be started.

To Aaron, I say this -- you may or may not make it to your 88th birthday, but I for one wouldn't be surprised if you did. There are just too many mysteries for anyone, including me, to argue against it. What science knows about the human spirit could be written on the head of a pin with room to spare.

Having said that, I won't be at your 88th birthday party unless I happen to push 115, so please excuse my absence. :)

Bill

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Ernie....you're hot on what I'm trying to get at. I've been struggling really hard to try and come up with a really good way to get to "the bottom line" in words without misinterpretation here and I'm failing miserably at it at the moment; you're information about the documented scientific proof of the existence of the placebo effect is one important piece to that "bottom line" picture. Doesn't anyone find it interesting that drug companies must prove that what they've got produces benefits greater than the placebo effect? I do. That effect is no accident.

OK...just after I posted to another moments ago that I was gonna' lay low here :lol: .....

Love 'ya guys,

Linda

P.S. I agree on perhaps starting a new thread if we are going to continue this.....none of us meant to monopolize your query Aaron.

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Jen,

I wasn't going to post here again, but Teri just pointed something out to me that I didn't even realize. That is, the photo of you and your Dad. All this time I thought it was you and your husband. Huh, he's a young looking guy ... or I'm as blind as a bat (and I'm not). :)

Bill

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Bill was diagnosed Stage IV at age 48. He survived 18 months with the best attitude, highest expectations and more hope than anyone I have ever witnessed.

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Either he's young looking or I am old looking...that is no good, Bill!!! Haha! Now you are really in the doghouse around here! Just kidding! Yes, my dad is a young 67. He has rarely been sick his whole life. He lost over 40 pounds on this deal, which you can see in the difference between the two pictures. The Christmas one was last year, while the camo one was this past Oct.

Now, I expect you to make some posts recognizing my youth!!!

Have a good one all!

Jen

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Jen -- obviously I'm still not reading profiles with the care I should be, otherwise I wouldn't have needed Teri to point it out. I'm still hesitant with the profiles but I'm getting there. The bizarre thing is I thought you guys looked like a really cute couple -- you happy and beaming, and your Dad with such a friendly smile.

I often joke that I have the best diet program in town, but still haven't managed to find the humour in it. :)

Take care,

Bill

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I always thought it would be kind of a sick but funny satire on weight loss advertising - Want to lose weight fast? Curb your appetite? Trim those love handles? Try new and constantly improving *CISPLATIN* Guarunteed to help you shed those excess pounds by making every piece of food taste like garbage! After 3 or more cycles, even the idea of eating will make you sick.

Act now, and we'll throw in at no extra charge, *TAXOL*, a $2,340 value.

Be advised that chemotherapy may cause nausea, constipation, diarrhea, neuropathy, neutropenia, alopecia, insomnia, mouth sores, fatigue, and depression. Use at your own risk. Neupagen and Neulasta not included. All rights reserved.

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