Disease and Uncertainty

In "When Do You Give Up on Treating a Child" Esther Levy concludes, "'There are only two states after such a diagnosis: disease and uncertainty." Both sound terrible. 

Esther explains, "Either he [my young son] will die soon, and that's certain--or he will continue on, and you will live with that constant balance of hope and fear. But the balance will change as time goes on." Then she talks about her current balance, a place where she feels moments of joy without the fear of the future. "'We are allowing ourselves to celebrate a little more."

In the pursuit of Healthy Survivorship, patients distinguish the objective uncertainty about their future and their subjective sense of that uncertainty. Healthy Survivors take steps to minimize the pain of uncertainty that can make happiness impossible. These mantras may help:

  • "I will learn to accept the uncertainty, even if I'm not there yet."
  • "I will focus on today; tomorrow I will face tomorrow."
  • "I will celebrate the little victories along the way."

While a sense of certainty is comforting, whatever the the news, sometimes certainty comes at too terrible a price, as explained in A Certain Uncertainty.  As Healthy Survivors, keep your overall goals in mind. Learn to accept the uncertainty that accompanies those goals. Doing so enhances your ability to get good care and live as fully as possible today, tomorrow and every day.

Next: How to keep your goals in mind and accept the uncertainty.

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