My acupunturist once told me that the best thing I had going for me was my positive attitude. Even though my attitude isn't perfect 100% of the time (we are human and have doubts and fears sometimes!), I really try to remain optimistic about my current health state, my prognosis, and my future. It's not that I live in a "bubble", completely ignoring or denying my disease and the fact that it takes the lives of over 8,000 people/year (that's one every hour). I also know the statistics for Stage IV melanoma (less than 5% survive past 2 yrs), but I choose not to surrender to the "numbers game" and know that I am not a statistic, but an individual. There are so many variables when discussing prognosis for a late stage melanoma patient. Cancer is complicated and so are we as individual human beings.
Studies have been done that often the common denominator between cancer survivors is their positive attitude on life. I fully believe this and know that our subconscious mind has more power over our bodies than we realize. I've learned this more fully through hynotherapy. I think that when I was Stage III, the thought in my head often was, "The cancer is going to come back." I was living in constant fear of the melonoma returning, and becoming Stage IV. Then when I was restaged to Stage IV with lung mets and I was going through the brutal decision on choosing treatment, I was stressed out worrying that the tumors would grow or move to different organs in my body. I truly feel that these thoughts did NOT help my body or mind, for that matter. And then look what happened! The cancer came back and more than doubled it's size during my stressful time figuring out treatment.
I now have a much healthier state of mind. I have told myself during the entire treatment that I will be a "complete responder" and now that this statement is coming true, I will now focus on thinking, "The cancer is not going to come back" and that "I will be a survivor". It might be difficult at times to always think this way, but I'm going to work really hard at keeping my stress levels in check and my attitude optimistic. Stage IV doesn't have to be a death sentence. Lots of people beat the odds and I know I will be one of those. I also know that my mission is now to help others. Once I get through treamtent, I plan to start a foundation that will focus on one, prevention and awareness (especially in schools with youth/teens), but most importantly, will focus on helping those fighting melanoma get the best opinions and treatment options to increase their chances of survival. I firmly believe that we can change statistics if this happens. Especially in the late stages of melanoma. I want to help people have the same opportunities that I have-to get the BEST CARE wherever that is. And in doing so, I hope to help them not only find the right and best doctors and treatment options for their case, but help them financially do those things if they are unable. This is where I hope to make a difference.
So, watch out melanoma...you're going DOWN!!!!!