Decision Making And The Big Picture

I’ve always been a “big picture” kind of person.Β I know for some people they agonize over the details and, believe me, I’m glad that there are people like that but I never have been that person. I’m the guy who scratches a plan in the dirt and then charges the enemy. πŸ˜€ Β So, I thought it might be interesting to discuss decision making and the big picture. Let’s compare the two approaches and see if we can get a good strategy for our cancer fight.

I’m Not Hasty

I know what some of the detail oriented people are thinking right now. You’re thinking that I’m hasty and that I make decisions without all of the facts. Well, I’m not…well…not usually! I do get the facts but once I’ve got them, I make a decision and live with it. Oh, by the way, that’s the key to being a big picture person. You must be able to live with your decisions. πŸ™‚ Β It doesn’t mean that you cannot change course but looking back with regret is not part of the deal. Otherwise, you need to take longer to make the decision in the first place …. but that makes me think that you might be more detail oriented. Look, I know that cancer is a fearful thing but sometimes you have to make your move!

I Was DyingΒ 

So, here’s the thing that makes me think there is benefit to being a big picture person. It’s context. You see, if I were researching an investment or a business opportunity then details are important. I would want to see cash flow, balance sheets and so on. In my case, and maybe in your case too, I was very sick. The cancer had invaded my entire body. It was in my gut, my lymph nodes, 40% of my liver was cancerous, it was in my ribs, arms, spine, legs…. you get the picture. I was on chemo and it wasn’t working. My energy went from 100% to maybe 25% very quickly. I was actually told that I might have only 2 years at one point. I was told to get my affairs in order. I was dying right in front of everyone and I didn’t want to go down like that. Not that some of us have a choice but I was determined to try and take the control of the situation as much as I could and I made a few decisions.

Here Is My “Big Picture” Strategy

Now, I know that my way of doing things is not how everyone else does but here’s how I make decisions. I research. I research more and then, you guessed it, I research more. πŸ™‚ After I’ve gotten about 80% of the information and I am feeling comfortable I start looking for mistakes, logical errors, false assumptions, misinformation and every other kind of logical bias that might have occurred.

I do this “error checking” because I have found that the idea curing, treating and living with cancer is full of bias. Now, you might have already picked a side in that discussion such as “alternative” cancer treatments or “medical marijuana” or “traditional” science is the only truth but let me tell you….. there is bias in every single one of these areas. You cannot simply trust the information you read without research. There are so many who would dismiss alternative cures even when proof may be right in front of them. On the flip side, many will reject chemotherapy just because it is traditional. We must try to be as honest as we can with ourselves so that we find the actual truth and not truth according to our bias. πŸ™‚

Of course, you can use others to help you “error check” as well. Ask questions of others. It’s important to ask others about their opinion of your pending decisions. You see, often we will think we’ve got it together, and we’re ready to go and then somebody asks us a simple question and our entire idea falls apart. So, fresh eyes are important especially if they come from respected sources.

Take Action

Now, here’s the thing about the “big picture” strategy I use to fight my cancer, you must act. I know so many people who will wait…..and wait….and wait to take action and sometimes they lose their opportunities. When I said that I was dying, I wasn’t kidding. Things were starting to go downhill for me. My tumors were spreading, the chemo wasn’t working and I was housebound. So, I took action. That is one of the keys to using a big picture decision making strategy. After you have a good chunk of reliable information, say 80 percent or more, you must move!

Oh, just so you know, sometimes you cannot wait for the “buy in” of others. They may be hesitant, ill equipped, or unavailable to “approve” your decision. You must be confident enough to make your own decisions and live with them no matter what authority figures do or do not say.

I tried multiple times to seek the counsel and treatment of specialists but, for some reason, it never worked out….and here I was, sitting on the couch slowly dying. So, after applying my “strategy” I chose on my own to be treated with PRRT in Texas. Yes, on my own. Nobody helped me make that decision. My doctor simply said “sounds good” or something similar. He was not even familiar with the treatment. I cannot tell you how many times that I have been “scolded” for doing that by medical professionals, fellow cancer patients and others yet, here I sit typing my blog. πŸ™‚ I do not regret it. I am alive because I took action and did NOT wait for others to approve my treatment. Especially because I’m not sure that approval was ever going to come!

Things Don’t Always Work Out

So, I made move and chose PRRT but, actually, I made a few moves all at the same time. I changed my diet to a mostly veggie based diet, I started taking B-17 and I made a decision to try PRRT. The veggie thing was inspired by my research on things such as the Gerson Therapy, a fairly famous cancer blogger who said he “beat” his cancer with juicing and a few other popular alternative cancer therapies. I have decided that for me, the veggie thing is not going to shrink my tumors. I do still try to eat a diet of more veggies than not and I do feel better for doing that BUT my tumor load is huge and I think I need something more aggressive than my immune system, which is very compromised, and a power packed diet. πŸ™‚ I am sure it works for others but I decided to pursue traditional means in addition to the veggie thing. I listened to my traditional doctor and went on chemo…and ate tons of veggies. πŸ™‚

I also, spent a ton of money on B17 tablets. I know people who I completely trust and they said they killed their cancer with B17. It didn’t work for me. Now, I may have done something wrong. Maybe there is something I missed in the protocol or maybe my cancer is unresponsive to this type of therapy but it did not seem to have an affect on my tumors.

So, why do I bring all of these “failures” up? Well, I am bringing them up because I want to be honest AND I want to illustrate that sometimes we make decisions using whatever strategy we are comfortable with like a “big picture” strategy and we fail. We must be able to live with that. With that being said, I may just read up on the B17 again and give it a second try.

The Opposite Strategy

So, obviously I have put all of my cards on the table and I know that some of you are thinking I’m crazy. That’s because you are more comfortable with the detailed approach. As I said before, I am a fan of both approaches but the determining factor, in my opinion, is context. If I’m withering away on a couch then I’m gonna pick my best bets and go for it but, if I’ve got time to do more research then why not do it?! After all, there are so many promising solutions out there that might work. Wasn’t it Thomas Edison who said “Genius is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration”? That means details matter. After all, an iterative solution is often the best before a grand theory can be figured out and applied. πŸ˜€ If we can explore every open door, walk down every path and seek every answer than why shouldn’t we. Still, we cannot be tricked into delaying a decision if we’ve already gotten our answer. That’s called “analysis paralysis”. πŸ˜€ Sooner or later we must make a move on the chess board but, isn’t that what life’s about any how?

Create A System Of Analysis

If you choose to pursue a more detailed approach and plan to dig deep then I would suggest that you create a system to help you analyze your information. For me, being a person acquainted with programming and project management, I would lean in that direction but others may create a study journal or something to that affect. In fact, a bullet journal might be something you might consider. No matter how you choose to organize your information it should have a flow and some rules that help you lead to a conclusion. There are plenty of project management applications free on the web. I used one of these when I was first diagnosed. You might also use a “knowledge mapping” application like The Brain. It’s pretty nifty. It connects all of your thoughts like a family tree that connected to other family trees that connected to….well, you get the point. Here’s a quick video.

So, at the end of the day, we’ve got 2 ways of looking at things and in various contexts they are both good and if you’re creative you can make a blend of the two. In fact, after thinking about things, I might consider my way a blend of 80% big picture and 20% of a detailed approach. How about you? πŸ™‚ Either way, we should use these methods to drive our actions and not allow others to make our decisions. As they say, we must be our own advocates.

Keep fighting,
Ed – To find out how to use my images on your blog for free – Click Here
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  1. Awesome, just AWESOME Ed! This is such an inspiring article and a wealth of important information. As you know I was dying too and no place was I able to find these straight forward and REAL words.

    Thank you for putting yourself out there for all of us! You will forever be a hero to me.

  2. You have to fight the battle on multiple fronts but you also need to fight it strategically. Liver is very important. Trying to slow or preferably stop proliferation is also important. Living life as a rewarding experience trumps them all. Your doing a great job ED. Bravo!

    • Thank you, Lily and thank you for mentioning the liver. So, do you have a strategy on stopping proliferation in the liver? I never thought about giving that special attention.

  3. Let’s get a river cruise together the autumn. Nets patients. Spouses.children.families??? A few speaking docs. We can do it. It would be great! Lynne Gallo ok ed ?

    • That sounds like fun πŸ™‚ Thing is, I’m as poor as a church mouse so… I will be looking at the pictures. I hope the cruise ship has lots of bathrooms – LOLOLOL

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