Monday, February 15, 2016

#SOL16: Certainty

Winter (M. A. Reilly, 2012)


On my way to see Rob the unusual happens. I am walking down a hospital corridor, heading towards the palliative care center where Rob is waiting. It is very early in the morning. No one seems to be around when my right eye begins to blur and a vision blooms full. I see the cancer cells that riddle Rob's thoracic area: lungs, spine, ribs, and sternum, along with his liver and spleen light like gold nuggets. And I watch as the cancer is drawn from his body, as more and more cells are swept into a black hole held in an outstretched hand. I see the gold bits of matter disappear into the blackness, like a giant mouth swallowing the cancer. All of this happens as I'm standing still in the hallway, the early morning sun falling through a window to my right.

Later, Rob will tell me that he visualizes the cancer in his body as long dark tunnels that are oddly empty.

I I.

A few days ago I received an email from my son's friend's mom. She asked me to read, Radical Remissions:Surviving Cancer at All Costs.  The premise of the text which grew out of the author's dissertation is "Although unexpected remissions are rare, thousands of people have experienced them." As I read the book I was filled with both hope and an odd embarrassment that dogged the belief that Rob could live. There's an inner voice that says such hope is foolish; that hanging on to nonmedical 'cures' is dangerous, wrong.

For the last six months, interactions with doctors and residents, technicians and interns have caused me to follow blindly. Of the hundreds of tests Rob has been subject to, less than 1 percent have been reported to us. Only our family doctor, two oncologists, and two surgeons shared results with us.  The majority of medical doctors who ordered test after test: daily blood cultures, X-rays, cat scans, MRIs, body scans, blood tests and on and on and on during these last six months failed to discuss the results with us. In many ways we were and certainly felt inconsequential.


It's so easy to lose yourself, to surrender your will, to doubt what you know. Certainty is a foolish desire.

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