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A Comic Shows How a Cancer Patient Can Choose Treaments

There is a very realistic comic on XKCD about how a cancer patient can find and choose a treatment.

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  1. Deb Linton posted this on the S4PM member listserv recently. This moment of awakening (“there is no certainty – you must deal with it”) is familiar. Here’s the reply I posted:


    Interesting visualization for people who’ve never been through this particular realization process. (Fair warning, there’s an eff-word in it…)

    A personal note on this topic –

    One chapter of my book is titled “Facing Death – with Hope.” It was posted on KevinMD last summer. I too went through the despair and uncertainty portrayed in the comic, then realized: wow, life IS uncertain. No kidding. Including about whether cancer will kill me someday.

    From members I quickly learned that if you don’t want to die of cancer, the game is to stay alive long enough for something else to get you first. That’s a world-changing perspective, and it’s real, and it’s one of the things in the chapter. Another is that at least I had some warning – in comparison, 1200 people woke up today in the US not realizing that before midnight they’d die of sudden cardiac death.

    Since that realization (and recovery) I’ve honestly been more alive than ever before. No kidding.

    And, returning to the “Lanes” cartoon – the statistics say there’s a 50% chance my cancer will return, and there’s no way to predict it and no known way to influence it. So I go along, living life, doing my best to avoid sudden cardiac death. :-)

    See also, in the chapter (on KevinMD), the discussion of “radical acceptance” by ACOR member Terry Wilson. Phenomenally empowering, and resonates with my experience.


    August 11, 2011

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