Friday, March 17, 2006

50%

Before I forget, I want to add one more point about the meeting at Sloan-Kettering on Monday. When "Damocles syndrome" was brought up at the meeting, it reminded me of what Dr. Schuster, my BMT doctor, told me at our very first appointment. He said the success rate for a stem cell transplant was 50%. I was very surprised by the numbers. For some reason, I and my family assumed the odds were considerably better than 50%. The figure of 50% left me stunned, but once the steps of the treatment started - the DICE regimen, cytoxin, stem cell collection - I forgot about the stats. Schuster, however, did tell me that statistics are good only to a point. Each patient brings different things to the table. There were positive elements in my corner, such as my youth and otherwise good health. He was obliged to tell me the truth. Indeed, I was the one who asked him about the success rate of the treatment.

So at the meeting, when I heard the "Damocles syndrome" described as feelings of impermanence and frailty, that 50% popped in my mind for the first time in months. I had forgotten totally about that 50% but I didn't let my thoughts get the best of me.

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