Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Transparent Tuesday

Today's Transparent Topic: Percentages

Wait a minute, don't let that scare you. This isn't a math lesson, I promise. We'd get nowhere if I were actually trying to teach you math but that's beside the point.

My parents and I were handed some percentages recently that have led to a very difficult decision. Let me give you a little background. Many of you know that my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer in June. He had surgery to remove the tumor and we were thrilled beyond belief when the surgeon said there was no cause for chemotherapy. Well, that was his opinion and wouldn't you know it that the oncologist had a differing opinion.

Enter the wonderful world of percentages. After testing the tumor the oncologist told us he has a 15% chance of the cancer returning in the future. So we had to decide whether or not to put him through the not so fabulous chemo treatments. In case you're new my blog and don't know the background to my dad's story, I need to tell you at this point that he suffered from a virus that left him with brain damage about 6 years ago. This is why I'm involved in the decision-making. It's a lot for my mom to take on this burden by herself. 

Anyway, if he does chemo his percentage rate drops to 7%. This means chemo or no chemo there's still an 8% chance of the cancer returning. So, what do you do?

Sadly, one of the side effects of chemo is what the oncologist called "chemo brain." There's no way to tell exactly how this would affect my dad but more than likely his cognitive functioning would decrease. For the "normal" person this isn't a very bad side effect, but for someone with impaired cognitive functioning already, this is a tragic side effect!

Back to our percentages. I found myself getting bogged down with that silly 15% number. It finally hit me that I was looking at this situation with a glass half empty mentality. Let's look at it differently now...he has an 85% chance that the cancer will never return! Hello, isn't that a much better way to think about things?!


If you were told there was a 15% chance of rain today, would you even grab your umbrella on your way out the door? I wouldn't! Honestly, does the weatherman even mention it if there's less than a 20% chance? Not usually.

So, friends, it's all about perspective. Do you face life worrying about the 15% or do you celebrate the 85%?

We've decided to celebrate the 85% and put our faith in God that He'll bless our decision to not put my dad through chemo.

God handed me a sweet memory this past weekend as we took my parents, niece, nephew and sister-in-law out on the lake. After watching the kids ride on the tube, my dad embraced life to its fullest and jumped in fully clothed to take his turn. He didn't want to miss out on all the fun. The smile on his face melted my heart and I thanked God then and there for the "extra" time He's blessed our family with.

What about you? Have you found yourself getting bogged down with tiny percentages? I'd love to pray for you and ask God to fill your heart with hope. Leave me a comment or send me an email: dfrieling1@gmail.com.

6 comments:

Whitney @ Drab to Fab Design said...

I love the way you think on the positive, Dana! You and your mother made the best choice for your dad and your family. It's so great that he was able to enjoy himself on the lake, and I'm sure that solidified your decision to not do the chemo!

pam {simple details} said...

Aww, that brought tears to my eyes that he is filled with joy and a zest for life! What a wonderful inspiration he is! I think I've said this before, but the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, sweet friend!

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

i think 85% is very good odds! usually when the forecast says 80% chance of rain, i know it's going to rain.

Piper said...

Bless your heart!! I dwell too much on the what if's which takes time and effort away from me enjoying the positive side of things! Thanks for this reminder! I am so thankful that GOD is bigger than any percentage!!

The Former Miss said...

I am a huge worrywart but try to look on the bright side as much as I can, too! My grandmother lived many years after her colon cancer diagnosis/surgery and it never returned! Sending prayers your way Dana! PS - LOVE that your Dad just jumped in the lake :)

Mathi Bear said...

Looking on the bright side is good. your post reminded me of this http://xkcd.com/931/ The author of the comic was diagnosed with cancer and shares an interesting visual way of interpreting the percentages.

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