Monday, February 11, 2008

Heads or Tails?

Flip a coin. Heads.

Flip a coin. Heads again.

Flip a coin. Heads again.

Flip a coin. What are the odds of getting heads again?

Ok, so anyone who's made it through middle school knows the correct answer to that. But isn't there a little piece of your intuitive self that thinks that this time it's more likely to be tails?

I'm that way with Henry's prognosis.

We were told on the first night we met with the oncologist that he had a 1 in 4 chance of beating this. And though I know cognitively know it's not the case, somewhere in my brain I can't shake the thought that there's one seat on the trainride to cure and four kids trying to sit in it. A morbid game of musical chairs.

I see a string of paper cutout children, 20 of them, holding hands. When we get good news, I mentally flick one or two of them off of the string, and his odds get better.

And then I feel sick.

How fair is this? I've got survivor's guilt, and he's not even a survivor yet?

I know our family didn't get our good news, snatched from the eager clutches of another family. I know that. But sometimes it feels that way.


Anonymous said...

Dr Smak, take care k3p3

rlbates said...

Thanks for "talking" to us. Wish I could do more for you.

Femail doc said...

You've expressed your perfectly normal, entirely understandable guilt perfectly wonderfully. Comparison, guilt, envy, bargaining, it's all part of parenting. But when the stakes are this high, it feels morbid. There is no good way for a mother's brain to process this.

Catherine said...

Hugs to you and Henry on Valentine's.

Anonymous said...

My niece was 4 when she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, and she is now a year out of treatment and no cancer. She had a 20% chance according to my research. I thought after the first chemo that she wouldn't survive a second, but she did. Miracles do happen.