Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cancer, Health, Life Expectancy

I've never been very good about accepting my successes. I'm one of those pain in ass people who seems as if they ignore you when you pay them a compliment or says something completely lame like “Yeah, well…(insert unassociated explanation here)” I'm pretty tough on myself- period… I put it all down to my “having high standards for myself” and being apart of a family of “over achievers.” I’m tougher when it comes to my failures. My business failures, when I let down someone, school etc…Oh boy, look out! As my boss puts it, “I never have to beat on you for making mistakes because you have a good time doing it to yourself.” I think that is a fairly accurate statement.

Even though it wasn’t that long ago, I can see where it all changed for me personally. That was back in April of this year when I was finishing up with my treatment. My brother was helping me with my diet and exercise plan and something just sort of “clicked” in my head. Instead of “hoping,” it won’t happen again I took preventative measures to make sure of it. The losing weight was just the icing on the cake. I’ve been doing more research and contacting the lovely folks at the American Cancer Society about what I should be eating more of and less of, what else I could being doing to prevent another incident. Thing is-I’ve been doing it. Again it’s either do or die and quite literally die if I don’t. That’s how I approach my exercising as well. Do or die. That is motivation enough to get me off my ass and go running now. It leaves me thinking, “Why in the hell didn’t I do this before?” I don’t have an explanation for it. It just is now a part of my life, which is very unexpected.

Incredible fear sometimes breeds life-altering realizations… I'm happy to say that considering the type of personality I am. This was the 'defining moment' for me. The thing that actually scared me-ME, a person who really doesn’t take too much seriously, cries, or scare easily. I have no choice. I had to re-assess my way of living. I learned from experience that being fat+ cancer = not so much fun. Heelllooo, possible death here!!!!!


Do you know they've actually done studies that say most patients have actually died more from knowing the outcome than from the disease itself?

It’s brain power, will, giving up, whatever you want to call it. I got news for you, that isn’t me and never will be. I don’t plan on going out that way. Expiring at 36? Not going to happen- not to me- not now.

Perhaps we've been going about it all wrong. Perhaps being conditioned by our ancestors to count out our life in years that have passed is the same as that well-meaning doctor's "six month's left to live" prediction? Perhaps we should consider the fact that, by putting a number on it, we're subconsciously counting ourselves down to die? I simply won’t do that.

Don’t get me wrong, there were many times in waiting room that I thought about saying fuck it and walking out, that no one would want me because I was “broken”,” used up” and “past my prime.” That lasted for about 3 minutes before I started wondering what the hell was the matter with me? I can DO something about this.. and I AM! Int he next 10 years technicology will advance by leaps and bounds that by the time the below number is upon us, we will have the ability to live beyond it.
Believe it when it is said that age is just a number! Here's some proof in the punch!

How long you live depends on which USA state you live in

AVERAGE LIFE EXPECTANCY BY STATE

Rank

State

Life Expectancy in Years

1

Hawaii

80.0

2

Minnesota

78.8

3

Utah

78.7

4

Connecticut

78.7

5

Massachusetts

78.4

6

New Hampshire

78.3

7

Iowa

78.3

8

North Dakota

78.3

9

Rhode Island

78.3

10

California

78.2

11

Vermont

78.2

12

Colorado

78.2

13

Washington

78.2

14

Wisconsin

77.9

15

Idaho

77.9

16

Nebraska

77.8

17

Oregon

77.8

18

South Dakota

77.7

19

New York

77.7

20

Maine

77.6

21

Florida

77.5

22

Arizona

77.5

23

New Jersey

77.5

24

Kansas

77.3

25

Montana

77.2

26

Alaska

77.1

27

New Mexico

77.0

28

Virginia

76.8

29

Delaware

76.8

30

Texas

76.7

31

Pennsylvania

76.7

32

Wyoming

76.7

33

Illinois

76.4

34

Michigan

76.3

35

Maryland

76.3

36

Ohio

76.2

37

Indiana

76.1

38

Missouri

75.9

39

Nevada

75.8

40

North Carolina

75.8

41

Georgia

75.3

42

Kentucky

75.2

43

Arkansas

75.2

44

Oklahoma

75.2

45

Tennessee

75.1

46

West Virginia

75.1

47

South Carolina

74.8

48

Alabama

74.4

49

Louisiana

74.2

50

Mississippi

73.6

51

District of Columbia

72.0


In fact, when viewed through the prism of life expectancy, there are eight Americas, with decades separating groups consisting of millions of people, report Harvard's Christopher Murray and his colleagues.

His team examined state and county life expectancies, the risk of death from specific diseases, health insurance and access to health care for major population groups from 1980 to 2001. They found that life expectancy differences are driven mainly by chronic diseases in young and middle-aged adults. Income, infant mortality, violence and HIV/AIDS, which now responds to drugs, played less of a role.Among long-lived people 15 to 44, the death toll from chronic disease was as low as among the Japanese. The profile for the group with the shortest life span resembles Russia. "Where we fall down is delivering health care for young and middle-aged adults," Murray says.The longest living group, "America One," consists of 10.4 million Asians, with an average life expectancy of 85, says the study in the journal PloS Medicine. That's 27 years longer than the average 58-year life expectancy of Native Americans in South Dakota.

The second group, "America Two," indicates that income isn't the key to a longer life span. This group is made up of 3.6 million low-income whites living in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Montana and Nebraska, with an average life expectancy of 79. "White populations living below the median incomes in northern states have the best level of health among whites. That runs counter to everything we know," Murray says.

The 214 million people in "America Three," the bulk of the population, have an average life expectancy of 78. Next, in rank order, come poor whites in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley with an average life expectancy of 75, Western Native Americans, who live to an average of 73, and black middle America, also 73. Low-income Southern rural blacks and high-risk urban blacks, "Americas Seven and Eight," live to 71.

Jonathan Skinner of Dartmouth says much of the variation depends on such individual factors as diet, exercise and smoking, not health care. "Yet we spend much of our attention and 16% of our national income on health care," Skinner says. "There's no way that differences in the quality of health care can explain 20-year gaps in life expectancy."

-taken from USA Today
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