what are my chances?

I wonder what my chances really are.  In movies there is always a doctor in a white coat who says “you have only three more months to live” or “there’s a 40% chance you’ll survive.”  But no one has told me anything like that. I guess it’s because all cancers are different.  Your neighbor’s cancer is not your own.  This is also why Googling for information is useless.

Maybe there is a scientific study somewhere of a large number of cases just like mine.  That would provide useful information.  But for now I don’t want to look for it.  I don’t want to think in terms of probabilities.  I have my treatment to go through, and I’ll worry about probabilities when I perk up again and feel less vulnerable.

For now what I go by is what professor Ko, my surgeon, told me: that he has operated on previous cases of metastases in the lymph nodes and that they have survived.  But then professor Ko adds, “lets hope you’re outcome will be as positive”; “lets hope for the best.”  And then my heart sinks yet again.  I don’t want to hope.  I want to know for sure.  But of course that’s very childish.  Grown-ups must learn to live with uncertainty.

Back when I thought I had very little time left, a 50% chance of living three more years sounded like great odds.  Now, when I’m starting to think I’ll pull through, a 50% chance of living three years sounds abysmal.

Sometimes, in my darkest moments, I suspect that everyone, including Diane, is participating in a conspiracy of optimism: “lets hide the truth from him as long as possible!”  “It’s better if he doesn’t know!”


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