McCain's diagnosis released a flood of articles about survivorship in the setting of a poor-prognosis cancer. Assuming McCain is fulfilling the first criterion of a Healthy Survivor by receiving excellent medical care, is he living fully, knowing the average life expectancy is 15 months?
Two glioblastoma (GBM) patients wrote pieces that show us how they are living fully. Journalist Jeffrey Weiss has been chronicling his life with GBM. I first met Jeff decades ago, when he had lymphoma that responded to a single course of radiation. After this new diagnosis, we enjoyed lunch together.
His Dallas Morning News series models Healthy Survivorship, inspiring others to find the sweet spot of acceptance and hope. Once Jeffrey completed all the necessary preparations for the likely outcome, he revved up his hope of living on the tiny long-term tail of the survivorship curve. This hope motivates him to pursue the latest therapies and clinical trials. This hope helps him also plan for a future he fully expects not to see and genuinely hopes to see.
Jessica Morris, a 19-month-and-counting survivor of GBM, was prompted by McCain’s diagnosis to speak out about strategies for hope. Like Jeff, she’s taking advantage of cutting edge therapies that may enable her to be around to benefit from a future cure. She trumpets the “patient power” of contributing to big data that will improve advice for today’s patients and fast-track enrollment in trials.
Clearly, Weiss and Morris are Healthy Survivors. Next: What about McCain?