Long ago- to get through Husband’s cancer – I learned not to get lost in the probabilities of possibilities. There was a 30% probability that this next round of chemo would be ineffective given that he failed his first line treatment. If his disease failed to respond to the chemo, then that would decrease the chances of a successful bone marrow transplant by 25%. The bone marrow procedure itself had a significant mortality rate.
At the beginning of Beloved’s cancer journey, I couldn’t sleep nights thinking about the likelihood of these possibilities. The more tired I became, the more emotionally invested I became in terrible outcomes, so invested that it was as if probability had already come about. This thinking created havoc, not only for me, but also for my children. I would arise from such nights exhausted, emotional, and irritable. Instead, I learned to stick with the facts. I learned to live in the now, to take it test by test, day by day.
Some days, when I was really struggling, I would live hour by hour. Then, when even the hour felt overwhelming, I would ask myself what needed to get done in the next 10 minutes. 10 minutes by 10 minutes I would force myself forward, going through the motions. Sometimes “the motions” was all that I had that day. Sometimes all I had was that little voice that said tomorrow, I’ll try to do better. My mom used to say that character is what you do on the third and fourth tries. Sometimes, for me, it was try six or seven or eight.
Also published on Medium.