Wednesday, October 7, 2009

it isn't a cold

a few weeks ago one of our school parents who was diagnosed with early breast cancer last year called me to see how i was doing. i was in professional mode, therefore i was fine, everything was fine. then she said, "katherine, it isn't a cold." this from a woman who was continuously positive, uncomplaining, and upbeat with all of us at school, at work, and with her family. she is right.

the survival rate for women with breast cancer has been improving year after year, thanks to all the extraordinary work by researchers and fundraisers and pink ribbons (that I disparaged in an earlier posting) and people who have walked and made donations and bought things with pink ribbons.

so now, here are the most recent five year survival rates: for women diagnosed with stage I breast cancer (that's me), the survival rate is now 98%. for women diagnosed with stage IV (Elizabeth Edwards, for example), the surval rate is 24% (hence John Edward's cruel promise to his mistress of a rooftop wedding after his wife dies).

i was thinking... 98% on a test is a great score, an "A" or even "A+". i am very grateful to be in that category. but then it occured to me that what 98% actually means is that one out of fifty women won't survive. and while i am pretty sure--based on nothing, really--that it won't be me, it will be someone.

it is not a cold.


  1. Katherine, (Liz Loeb here)just want you to know that I'll be following your blog and rooting for you from the sidelines. I can't agree, though, to the "not to worry" clause. May I still follow? If truthfulness and humor have a role to play in a positive outcome (and I do believe they do) you're gonna be just fine. Love and hugs to you and Chad.

  2. You are ever amazing and I love you very much. we are right here for you, whenever you need us. Sending much love, good thoughts and support always, Nanc