Having timing on your side matters

Timing, we hear repeatedly, is everything.

Just how much we can control it, well, that’s another thing. That we want to — just as we want to find the fountain of youth — is clear.

Best-selling book after best-selling book comes out on the subject, often promising we can become millionaires in business just by following what are, in effect, a few easy steps. Timing for becoming successful in business, we are told, is merely a function of finding the right balance between supply and demand.

As we all know, even though the best-selling books purport to offer outlines for the perfect timing, few become millionaires, other than the authors who say what we want to hear — that if you study hard enough, you can see clearly into the future.

Malarkey aside, some of the books are both fun and helpful.

Not long ago, Mark Di Vencenzo wrote a best-selling book about timing, “Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon,” that even quoted experts about the best time to buy shoes: Late afternoon is best, when your feet swell to their largest size.

He touched on more serious subjects, too, noting that studies show you’re four times less likely to have surgery-related problems if you schedule your surgery in the morning. Doctors and nurses are rested, nothing yet has happened to stress them out. “It’s the one time of day when we’re all on the same page,” one operating room nurse said.

Timing, of course, factors critically in health and medicine. Lord knows there are quacks trying to enhance this fact by advertising that if you take this pill and buy that potion, both Alzheimer’s and a beer gut quickly DISAPPEAR!

But even if you catch a problem early, it can be treated more effectively. Doctors say, for instance, that if breast cancer is caught at Stage 1, the cure rate is 90 percent. At Stage 4, the cure rate is 1 percent to 2 percent.

As I sat at the kitchen table in 30-year-old Elizabeth Trujillo’s home the other day — she has painful Stage 4 breast cancer that has spread to her liver and frequently makes her unable to walk — she talked about timing, about how she wishes things could have been timed better in her life.

“I’m not worried about myself, I know I’m going to heaven,” she said as her mother sat beside her and her three young children watched television in an adjacent room. “But this isn’t fair to my three kids and my husband. They’re not ready. They don’t deserve this. The timing doesn’t feel right for them. They’re worried.”

“You’re not going to die,” her mother said.

In July 2012 Trujillo discovered two small lumps in her right breast. Laid off from a job without health benefits — her husband’s construction job also didn’t offer them — she didn’t have money for care and she didn’t qualify for Medicaid.

She knew she needed care pronto for best results, but life happened. No matter whom she talked with, her primary care doctor, government officials, friends — they all said she needed some kind of insurance to receive care.

So she got a job with insurance. But by the time her insurance kicked in months later, and she presented herself to doctors, she was Stage 4, with one lump now the size of an orange.

The surgical, drug and radiation treatment seemed to have worked until March, when a scan found cancer in her liver and other parts of her body.

Her bald head — she took off a wig to show me — revealed she’s on chemotherapy again. She says the chemo takes away some of the pain that had been shooting through her legs. Fearing addiction, she has stopped taking prescription pain medication.

“Once I was hurting so bad in my stomach that I called my dad in Colorado crying at 3:30 in the morning,” she said. “He had me put the Bible where I hurt and thankfully the pain stopped.”

Yes, she said, it would have been wonderful if someone had helped her navigate the health care philanthropic systems — the American Cancer Society recommends calling its manned 24-hour information line, 1-800-227-2345, to find out about community resources — so she could have received care before she was Stage 4. And it would have been great if she ended up like Rosemary Rathbun and Lorrine Rodgers of Las Vegas, who received a trial drug last year that erased Stage 4 cancers about to take their lives.

“I’m trying not to stress myself out that some good things didn’t happen,” she said. “I got real depressed when the cancer came back. But I can’t get depressed for my kids. I feel so old sometimes now. I’ve been feeling like I can’t do anything more. But I have to have faith.”

Trujillo, who is deeply religious, says she wakes up about four times a night to pray.

She says she prays not only for her own healing, that God will protect her family, but also delivers prayers of hope for healing of others and future generations to come.

She prays that God’s will shall be done.

She does not want to die, but she knows deep in her soul that if she does, her children and husband will be cared for.

She believes the future may not be in hand, but it is at hand.

“It’s all timing, everything is timing,” she said. “His timing.”

Contact reporter Paul Harasim at pharasim@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2908.