Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Complaining about the life boat

Yesterday was not a good day. Lyn received the prescribed chemotherapy pills in the mail. Finding this package on the front porch wasn't nearly as exciting as mail order deliveries usually are. But the worst part was inside: The warning sheet that went with the pills sounded really awful. The bad side effects, like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, sores, and all sorts of other possible bad things sounded way more likely than the doctors made them sound.

The warning sheet was all about how to minimize the effects or cope with them, not just warn about the possibility. I don't know what to say / think / do. One day at a time is OK until you have to take a poison pill. That's just a hard pill to swallow. It also brought home the seriousness of the problem. If the cure is that bad, it tells you how bad the disease could be.

I wish the doctors could be more clear in predicting the likely situation, but doctors don't like to make predictions. Your mileage (or nausea) may vary. Makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it. Lyn was upset, and there wasn't really anything I could say that was the least bit helpful. It was just a real downer.

Should we hope for the best, or, as I usually say, the key to happiness is low expectations? Smile, things could be worse? At least there's a cure. Rather than feel bad about the side effects, we should happy that the medicine exists and works, right? At least there is the expectation of coming out on the other side of it, even if it's tough for a while. There are lots of cheerful ways of looking at this. It isn't that hard to say those cheerful things, but it isn't that easy to truly feel cheerful about it.

Grumping about the side effects sounds like complaining about the discomfort of the life boat instead of being thankful there was a life boat, even if we're hanging over the side of the boat puking up seaweed. But, we don't know. We can't tell how it's going to be next week. This week, we are still OK. No use being miserable this week, just because of the possibility of misery next week.


  1. It is exactly because you don't know that it is so hard. And it is a life changer. It has to be. Because this is not a week of antibiotics and then you are all better. Hopefully it will have a happy ever after ending. But living with the uncertainty....and the not fun-ness of now...and they changes that will come... Yeah... This life boat is lame. Can't we build a better boat?

  2. Just took time to read your Blogs... so sorry about Lyn's news... we will add her to our prayer list. I know it is scary, especially since you can't do anything to "make it better" for her except just to be there. My sister in law completed treatment in Sept. and still baby sat her granddaughter almost every day and our housekeeper is going through it now (and still working almost every day), James did the same - only took one day a week off toward the end of his Rad. treatments (4 years ago now)when they forced him too at school... Knowing Lyn... she will try to keep her life as normal as possible. Let her set the pace and just be supportative... We will be praying.

  3. Being an engineer's son, I know all about having trouble coping with uncertainty. Even bad situations are made easier by knowing all the facts and ultimate end results. When you live your life based on knowing all the facts and certainties, the unknowns and uncertainties make life very stressful. Complaining about the life boat may seem ridiculous, but sometimes it helps take our minds off the reason why we're in the life boat in the first place and keeps us from all the worrying about the unknowns.