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I’ve been thinking about luck. And it’s a funny thing.

It’s been said that you make your own luck. Thomas Jefferson said, “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

Those may be true in certain circumstances, but then there’s just dumb luck.

A little piece of my story:

At 16, I had hernia surgery, but they found a golf ball-sized tumor instead of a hernia. The surgeon removed it and discovered it was a rare cancer: synovial sarcoma.

At the time, the protocol for synovial sarcoma was to NOT remove it but leave it in & treat it with chemo & radiation. Mine was removed. Now what? Still both chemo & radiation? Just one? Which? Not to mention there were 2 completely different protocols for children & adults. I was 16. Which was I?

My doctors decided to perform a second surgery to clear all the cancerous debris, take lymph nodes that may have been compromised, & follow with radiation.

At the time, I was mad/frustrated that we trusted the general surgeon from the small hospital near our home in rural Western New York. Should he have left the tumor in? Did he leave cancer cells in my body that were going to spread everywhere?

Because he removed the tumor, I needed a larger surgery, had a larger scar, longer recovery, and later developed lymphedema. All because he didn’t follow protocol.

Fast forward 23 years, the data shows that removing the tumor results in the best outcomes. In the majority of cases that followed protocol, the same cancer the doctors thought they removed with chemo & radiation came back 15 or 20 years later. In the brain.

The point? It was dumb luck and I am extremely lucky that the first doctor did the ‘wrong thing’. I walked around for years resenting that guy. I mean, not actively, but I always wondered… maybe I wouldn’t have lymphedema, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten a blood clot and could’ve run my senior year of college, maybe I’d still be able to run, maybe I wouldn’t have a giant scar, maybe I could wear shorts without feeling like everyone was staring at my compression stocking, maybe I would have had a less traumatic childbirth experience, maybe I’d have more kids…
But then again, maybe I’d be dead.
I felt unlucky for so long. As it turns out, I am one of the lucky ones.
This has been on my mind b/c of what’s happening in the world right now. The year 2020 feels like an unlucky shit storm. On so many levels. Every time I find myself asking “why” or “why now”, I try shift and ask, “what am I supposed to learn?” and “where is this leading me?”.
#foodforthought #luck #sanclemente #personaltrainer #askdifferentquestions #learn

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