July 29, 2011: Give Me a Week

The whole “day by day” attitude that I have had just isn’t working for me. Days are simply too short and they end too quickly. Focusing on each day means that nights are rotten. I simply can’t sleep and find myself pacing around at all sorts or weird hours. Even the dog is telling me to calm down and get some sleep.

So now, I am officially announcing that we are going to have a great week. That’s right — from right now, we know that this coming week will be a really good one. It will be good and it will be normal. Let’s make it a week and a day so we can throw in next Shabbat as well, o.k?

First, Stella has been feeling better. The chemo commandos must be doing their job and knocking the stuffing out of the evil cancer troops. The last couple days have been really nice and aside from sleeping a lot (which is not the worst side effect if you think about it,) Stella seems in pretty good shape. Her hair has not fallen out and she has not turned blue. She even had a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, melted of course since she can’t eat cold food. She still looks fantastic and when she send me that smile of hers, I feel that everything will be all right.

I have thought a lot about the difference between denial and hope. Denial means that you simply refuse to understand the situation you are in. You may listen to the Doctor, but you don’t hear. Denial is not a terrible thing if the road is rough, but I don’t believe it’s that healthy.

Hope is something else entirely. Hope means that even though you understand that the road ahead will be rough, you still believe that one day, everything will be normal again. There are so many examples of people “beating the odds” doing all sorts of things that you have to realize how little cancer statistics mean if you are one person.

People who been given tiny chances live and those who have been given great odds die. So if you are an Oncologist with one hundred patients, the statistics may be very important to you. But if you are just one person — they don’t necessarily mean anything. So not obsessing about numbers is not denial, it’s hope.

Why on Earth did Lance Armstrong believe that he could win the Tour de France just three years after getting cancer? One word: Hope.

So the word for the week is hope and what a week it will be. We have huge plans. We are going to go for walks with the dog, and go back to work, and cook meals for ourselves. Our kids will be returning from California and we will have pizza and go the mall. We will play tennis on the Wii and Bannanagrams on the table.

We do not have chemo scheduled or blood tests or meetings with Doctors. I’m not in denial, I know that we will have lots of all those things in the future. But I just want one week to have fun and be happy and squeeze all we can out of seven or eight days. I’m not going to cry in shul, but I will sleep and run like a normal (well, normal for me) person.

And who know, if this week works, maybe we can have another.

And another.

And another.

That’s what I mean by Hope.

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