Answers Again

Today will be a long one at the oncology center. My patient portal indicates I will be there for five-and-a-half hours; my hope is that it will not take that long. But the Taxol (brand name for Paclitaxel) infusion alone, if I am to believe what I’ve read on the internet, will take around three hours. Add to that the time required for the other IV drugs and fluids, the blood draw, the conversation with the oncologist, and flushing the IV line, and I would not be surprised at five-and-a-half hours. During what I had hoped would be the only course of chemotherapy, which started in January, I often returned at least once or twice a week (if not more frequently) for blood draws and subsequent drug adjustments. It’s not like I have other pressing business, of course, but I prefer absolute freedom. Most of us do, I suspect. I hope to hear an updated prognosis, but I imagine it may be too early for that; only after the drugs have been given time to work and measures of their effectiveness taken can I legitimately expect anything more concrete than “we’ll have to wait and see.” Not that my oncologist would say that to me.  And so, Grasshopper, practice patience until that characteristic becomes your natural reaction to all thing that call for waiting.


It’s jarring, the sense that the future is on hold until questions about its viability have been answered. But that truth is common—pervasive. We cannot know what will be until we know what is. Even then, we can only guess. And we do not seem to be able to agree of what has been. History, which cannot be changed, often is. Perception interprets reality; history is contextual and individual-specific. Two people who shared the same experience may recall completely different historical records of “what happened.”


Enough thought for now.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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