This time last year I was still only mid way through my radiation treatment. So its a strange and wonderful feeling to now be still here and able to complete the Australian census. Between the time cancer is found and biopsy results concluded, your thoughts can darken and plans get put on hold. Thinking a year ahead is not even in the equation.
A cancer diagnosis can make you feel like you have now become a walking talking statistic. You learn to become a hybrid of mathematician and clinician as you’re constantly presented reports stuffed full of numbers. You must quickly decode, interpret and provide executive summaries to friends and family on best case and worst case scenarios. At the same time you are negotiating your treatment plan and options. I was one of the lucky ones as my prognosis for a higher five year survival rate was good.
Tonight has given me an opportunity to pause and reflect on all those before me who willingly contributed to cancer data collection and trials. This has ultimately paved the way for people like myself to be able to access earlier detection programs, greater treatment options and longer survival rates. I am eternally grateful.
In turn I happily provide data to the census tonight and once more become a statistic (be it one with a name and address!). My greatest wish is that I am here to complete the next one in five years as then my status will change to being known as a “survivor”!
To those still battling my heart goes out to you. Remain strong and rock those numbers….