Was I Just Lucky to Overcome Stage 4 Cancer?

As we embrace a new year, I’ve found myself becoming introspective — thinking through goals and dreams of the future; and also taking stock of the past. In particular, I spent a decade fighting and healing from stage 4 bone cancer. A decade, where things got so bleak, that I was ultimately given a five-year, less than 10% survival rate.

The fact that I managed to turn my health around and that I’m alive to write about this is pretty mind-blowing. I’ll never forget the day I received that prognosis from my oncologist. And I’ll certainly never forget what it felt like during the years that followed, as I pushed forward, one day at a time through endless uncertainty. The pressure was relentless and beyond grueling.

I remember thinking to myself how badly I needed a miracle after conventional medicine hadn’t stopped the cancer. And as I’ve since considered the rarity of overcoming the odds I was up against— the rarity of securing my desperately needed miracle— a question arose in my mind…

Was I just lucky to have turned my health around?

Looking back, luck absolutely played a role. A big role. I was lucky to have incredible doctors and surgeons by my side, the unwavering support of friends and family, and to have set aside savings that would help with medical expenses. These blessings (and much more!) laid a foundation for my healing.

But I also took serious action.

After enduring one setback after the next during treatment, I took a leap of faith by passing on a clinical trial. It came with low success rates and side effects that would compromise my quality of life. I didn’t have much else for a plan at the time, other than betting on myself to figure something out.

The following years were full of angst and uncertainty. I began reading up on everything I could regarding holistic healing. Speaking with other cancer survivors and a diverse mix of medical experts. I had learned from multiple recurrences that no one had the perfect plan and that treatment wasn’t assured to go as expected, so at the very least, I wanted to be able to own and feel comfortable with the decisions I made.

To make the best decisions, I knew I had to wrap my head around every aspect of my healing options. I became a sponge for knowledge, soaking up everything I could find. I sifted through the information and, in the end, trusted my gut, taking an extremely overwhelming process one step at a time.

I educated myself, overhauled my entire lifestyle around healing, and fine-tuned my diet while loading up on supplements that supported my recovery. I worked hard to tame my fear and transform my belief from “healing might be possible,” to “healing is probable” and eventually to “healing is inevitable.” I put in the work, day in and day out.

“Earning my health” is what I began to label the work I put in from my end. That part wasn’t luck. I stayed disciplined, and while there were rough stretches and many freak-outs along the way, I did my best to stay consistent.

Reflecting on my wild journey of healing from advanced bone cancer, I can’t deny the role that luck played in providing me with essential resources and a support system. Yet, I also have to acknowledge that determination, a relentless pursuit of knowledge and unwavering commitment were critical to turning my health around as well. For any cancer fighters who have questions about my experience, I’m always looking to support the community like others have for me. Feel free to reach out at [email protected].

As I step into this new year, I carry with me lessons I’ve learned and proof that taking action, gaining knowledge, and raw determination can greatly increase our chances of getting lucky and defying overwhelming odds… Even in the face of something as formidable as advanced cancer.

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