Since my two sarcomas were very rare (1 out of 189,000 - and 30% of that small population get the particular kind that I had), I now see that even the doctors are often working in the dark.
Especially given that only 3-6% of the population participate in oncological clinical trials. They are not representing me. I consider myself outside that box. And most people should. We are all very different, in size, gender, shape, and personality (and tenacity).
I see this as an opportunity. An opportunity not to believe the scary stories (read: voodoo curse). So when my doctor says, 'well, maybe you'll get 9 years.....', I say, 'you have no idea'. He then responds with, 'you're right, I don't know'.
I believe this is an opportunity for patients, and for doctors. For patients, it means not taking on the voodoo curse---after all we may fall outside the doctors' spectrum, as in what they call 'spontaneous remissions'.
For doctors, it's an opportunity to offer a broader spectrum of possibilities to their patients. My doctor could have said 30-40 years to me and have been just as correct. And, it would have been a more hopeful outlook for me to take home that day. (He was well meaning, but underestimated the power of his words.)
Alas, I've learned that I need to create that for myself. Every. Day. I choose my outlook and therefore my mindset--in every moment. I choose how to experience my life. It is a practice. And meditation helps me keep on track.
My latest favorite quote also helps remind me: 'Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth'. -- Marcus Aurelius
PS. If you're interested in starting a meditation practice, try out my new free downloadable meditation. It's short--all you have to do is relax and listen, you will be lowering your cortisol levels, activating your vagus nerve, and tapping into your innate healing abilities.