Statistics Suck

Photo by Redwood 1 on Flickr

Dissing stats is a hard thing for me to do.  You see, by day, I’m a strategist for my company.  I thrive on numbers.  Trends, demographics, psychographics, performance metrics.  I live by stats.  But I refuse to die by them.

While doing online research at the Cleveland Clinic site, I came across a statistic that hit me like a sucker punch to the gut:  50% of people diagnosed with IPF live another four years.  50-50.  The flip of a coin. Those are my chances of seeing even one of my kids graduate college.

That single sentence brought me to my emotional knees.  It was the first full breakdown I’ve had since all this started.  But it felt good in a red-eyed, runny nosed, sobby, hiccuppy kind of way.  While I’m all about keeping strong and positive, I also know the only way to slay fear is to face it head on.  Tamping it down, ignoring it, pushing it away only lets it gain strength in the shadows.

So after a good shuddering cry, I started to roll that number around in my head.  50-50.  That means I have just as good a chance of living beyond four years — well beyond even. I have youth in my favor (hah, never thought 50 would be “young”), a crack medical team, loads of wonderful friends all over the country praying for me and sending positive energy, a strong supportive family, and a steadfast belief that four years simply isn’t enough time to complete everything I still have to do.

My brother-in-law is a cardiologist in New Jersey.  As we talked last night, I told him about the stat I’d found.  He said he never shares mortality statistics with his patients because they really aren’t relevant when you get down to the individual.  There are too many other factors — attitude, the patient’s commitment to work hard and consistently on his/her own behalf, the availability of research protocols, other health issues, etc.

So, while statistics may help me determine the best way to improve sales for my company, I refuse to let a flip of the coin decide how much time I have left.  Time to go kick some PF ass.


8 thoughts on “Statistics Suck

  1. I enjoy your blog so far and I love this post. “Your thoughts become reality.” Take a trip and day dream and swim in the emotions of what make you happy. I know, I know… you’re a 4. You don’t like emotions. But I’m proud of you for recognizing that you have to face the emotions head on to see what is going on and be real with yourself, then tackle the ones that want to bring you down and embrace and live in the ones that keep you up!

    • Yes, I feel my 4ness through and through. I have to admit, I think I’ve cried more in the past 4 weeks than I have in the previous 4 years. But I’m also feeling stronger emotionally than I have in a very long time. 🙂

  2. Keep up the positive attitude! You had your breakdown and you were entitled! You may even have many more and that’s ok too — the important thing is stay strong, focused and positive. You can do this!

  3. Absolutely keep up that attitude, Lori. Eat better, get into an exercise program, take your meds and I just know you will lick this. Heck, you could get run over by a car tomorrow…that’s something we just don’t know. Just keep living your life right and keep up the positive attitude and you may make it to age 99. Who has time to be sick?! It’s annoying. Too many people need you…especially the kids.

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