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A rant.

Is anyone here as tired as I am of folks being scared out of their wits by doctors who sit back with that oh so superior attitude and throw out statistics on recovery and time frames based on those statistics? Good lord! Here's some poor person who's just been told he/she has a major illness and the VERY NEXT THING they hear is "Only 2 percent of people with your illness recover" or "You probably only have 10 months to live" (or whatever). It's like the doctor is saying, "ok ... your dead. Next patient please"! GAAAACK! Every time I read a post like that here it makes me want to find that particular idiot doctor, grab him by the shirt and punk slap him four or five times.

Personally, I've been lucky. Not one of the doctors I've dealt with mentioned statistics or time frames to me. (Hmmm... maybe, considering my feelings on this, THEY were the lucky ones :)). I never had to use my "God card" rejoiner (but it's in my "repitoir" should I ever need it! :))

Here's a personal story I've posted before, but I think it deserves being posted again and again as long as new folks are joining us:

I had a friend a few years ago. I met him a few months after he had been treated for brain cancer. If you think the stats for lung cancer are nasty, you oughta look up the ones for brain cancer! He'd been told, upon diagnosis, he had not months but WEEKS to live before the cancer killed him. Well, the doctors were half right. The cancer did kill him. TEN YEARS LATER!!!!! The list of things that man accomplished in those ten years is WAY too long to post here.

So, for anyone who's anxiety level has hit the red line due to reading or hearing those statistics here's a little clue. You are NOT a statistic! You do NOT have "6 months to live" stamped on your forehead! I don't know about y'all, but MY name isn't "2%" or "15 months". MY name is DEAN. And only GOD, in my opinion, has ANY say in how long I live or what statically field I end up in.

End of rant.


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Amen, Dean.

My grandfather was given mere months to live with prostate cancer. Upon surgery, the doctor sewed him back up and told him to get his affairs in order, he was going to die...

...and so, my grandfather began visiting his children and grandchildren one last time and headed to Florida from Michigan...

In Florida, my grandfather ended up in an emergency room with some abdominal pain (his tumor was the size of a grapefruit, no wonder...) and a doctor called in for consultation asked if he was aware he had prostate cancer. (Well, DUH!) His NEXT words were "I think I can get it out..."

...and he did. My grandfather lived another ten years before being plagued with "bad hips". Since this was ten years ago, I don't think anyone put together the odds of him having mets to his bones right away...they replaced his hips. He complained of joint pain, so more extensive tests were run to discover he had mets to bone and brain and he had weeks to live. Grampa didn't want to die in the hospital so he came home with Hospice...and held on to see his first great-grandson one last time (he died the day after we made it home).

Point is, he didn't die on the doctors' "schedule" either time, he did what he felt needed to be done before he took his leave of this earth.

I plan to take my cue from him...take care of what needs MY input to be taken care of and let the rest take care of itself.

Now to just get rid of all the white noise and get on with life....

And believe me, I'm VERY thankful for my medical support as I feel I have some of the best doctors available to me and the most wonderful GP a person could ever hope for. I can't imagine what life would be like with anything less, they DO share statistics with me, and in the SAME BREATH tell me that I'm going to blow all the stats! With a team like that, losing isn't an option!

I think what we need to stress to those with doctor horror stories is that the doctors are SERVICE PROVIDERS. If not happy with the service, fire 'em and move on! I give MY permission for anyone who needs to find a new doctor to begin the quest.


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Physicians are human beings, and as such they are subject to the same character defects and prejudices as the rest of humanity. The same stigma we fight among every day people-sometimes including our own family members-can and is found in our medical providers. I have never heard of any other type of cancer survivor being given the "talk on statistics" with the same relish as those of us diagnosed with Lung Cancer. And I don't think we are being hypersensitive. And I know that not all doctors and nurses, and med techs are like this. If you have the good fortune of having one who is not then Good For You and God Bless Them...but there are a heck of a lot who are like that. They've bought into the idea that we did this to ourselves, we deserve all that happens to us, and that we have no right to complain about how we are treated, or not treated.

They do this out of ignorance,and to a certain degree meaness of spirit. I don't want to hit them...I want to find a way to bring this home to them in such a way that they develop empathy. Don't know if this is really possible, but it's what I try to do.

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I think I was very fortunate that I worked at NIH when I was diagnosed, Dr.Shrump never was judgemental in any way. He believed he could get it out.

I got my life.

He got a dead tumor he couldn't use.

He couldn't be happier.

And never one word about statistics.

Not any judgement calls about smoking.

I just remembered that with a cohort of one, the stats go to 100 or 0, so I focused on 100% and put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.

I was afraid to even research the statistics for a few years, I knew they were bad. I didn't want to look. I still don't like to look.

I am still here.

Miracles happen every day.


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I always laugh at the way doctors talk.

You wait a month and a half for an appointment and the doctor says,

''I wish you'd come to me sooner.''

I have breast cancer (glycogen-rich breast cancer) we are about

2 in the world with that kind of cancer all the others, 31 of them

are dead, but I am still here 4 1/2 years later.

I try to enjoy each day, even if it is very hard now that my husband is gone, but as long as I make the statistics wrong, I'll give it a try.


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Good Rant Dean!

I always see it as the medical ...CYA...disclaimer... They give you the "stats" for thier own protection???

My Moms doctor was great... I did have difficulty with one partner in the onc unit while Moms reg doctor was away... whose opinion was my Mom was doing poor and getting brain mets...This guy was voted best oncologist? GUESSED WRONG!!!!! We were told that tumors the size of Moms always had mets....

When I was 22 my 23 year old sister-n-law had hodgkins lympohma....Iwas there when she went to get "staged" they did all her tests, bone marrow etc...and told her what they thought her stage was... i don't remember what the stages are but she was told all the stages and the survival rates and live spans and trmts...organs affected mets and one being ovaries....she loved children.... She was told something like stage 3a 70-80 percent survival. But go home and we will call you if t..heres something worse showing... WELL we had to get her out of the house cause everytime the phone rang she would cry and jump. Poor girl.... I'm not allowed to quess or estimate in my field "stockmarket".... Why a doctor would fill your head with what ifs is terribly insensitive and cruel.

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Thanks for reminding us about "statistics". I have told this story before but for those who haven't read it here goes.

My husband had his 2nd open heart surgery 12 1/2 years ago at St. Lukes in Milwaukee, we flew out there because his Cardiologist said it was the best place to go. Five hours in to the surgery the surgeon came to me and said they couldn't get his heart started again, (he was on the heart lung bypass machine) one of the old arteries broke off during the surgery and caused a major heart attack. The only recourse was to put him on an artificial heart machine but he DID NOT advise it because all the other organs could fail etc, lot of bad stuff could happen. I said put him on it. They did and then told me to call the family he had a less than 2% chance of recovery and if he did make it the results were not going to be pretty. He went into a coma, had six more surgeries that week and one day he woke up. To make a long story short he is doing fine 12 years later, yes he lot a lot of his heart function and is on a lot of medication but he is here and leads a normal life. I have never believed in statistics because people make them. I don't think God employs any statistic makers.

Bess B

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Dean, lets don't all forget that quite often the patient or family will ask that question "HOW LONG DO I HAVE" to the dr and they will answer what they think the patient wants to hear or will answer how they think the patient wants to hear. That is a hard question for all drs to answer. Sometimes the dr will ignor that question and never answer it. Not knowing the conversations each person has with the dr, lets not bash them in or this one. I know i have been one to ask that question in the past......

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You know, Dennis never asked how much time he had. I asked the doctor immediately and was told that he head maybe one year if we were very lucky. Sorry to say that our doctor was optomistic, as Dennis did not make the one year mark. Now, in retrospect, I wish I had never asked. I would hop on the computer when Dennis rested, hoping to find some statistics that would prove a higher percentage of sclc patients lived longer that the previous study showed. As a result, I spent so much time expecting his death rather than sharing his life. I believe that the quality of life and mental attitude of a lc patient (especially sclc) is better if they have not been given this "timed death sentence" by a physician. I must agree with Norme...if you ask for an answer you cannot find fault with the doctor for answering to the best of his ability. Each individual is different and all the doctors can do is give information based on other cases.

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Somehow I missed this post until a little while ago. Now I want to add my two cents worth. I'm all for getting together a commitee to choose *ss hole doctor or the decade. Anyone want to take me up on that? I'm sure that the only problem we might have is finding more people to vote than nomanees!! I know there are some really good and caring doctors and like Norme said you can not fault them if you ask. My solution is if you don't really want to know don't ask. If they tell you anyway tell them what they can do with their statisticss and nominate them for the afore mentioned title.

Now sense Dean had the good sense to start this rant (he must have been reading my mind when he posted it) I have a few more things to add.

If doctors spent less time reading statistics and more time trying to find a way to change them maybe they wouldn't be so bad. If they spent as much time trying to lift someones spirit and encourage them in their fight instead of blindsideing them with statistics and their own pre concieved notions about life and death maybe many more would have the heart for the fight. I believe too that when they start out with the attitude that a person who has lung cancer is a walking dead person they will not do a whole hell of a lot to make it turn out different. In fact they may (as I have seen) do things that will make the persons chances of becoming one of the bad statistics higher. Things like giving drugs that they would never give to someone else because they are dangerous for that particular person.

Now too lets talk about emotional problems like anxiety and depression. There is an attitude that makes emotional problems and mental problems sound like they are all the same thing and leads people to think (especially doctors it seems) that if you have one of these problems your quality of life is not worth saving. Now I wonder why someone who is told they have cancer. The statistics are very bad and you have only xxxxx amount of time to live would feel either anxious or depressed? dahh!!!!!!!!!

Seems to me like we need to open a school that teaches hope, bedside manners, alternative treatments and faith along with how to keep your eye toward what is good for patients instead of rattleing off doom and gloom before they have a chance to digest the fact that they have a serious illness!!!!!!!

Ok Got that off of my chest so my rant is over for now. Who is next????????? I'm sure there are many other things that have been missed so lets hear them!! Heck just talking about it might make so much energy that we end up producing some new chemical that makes all of the things above just go away !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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