We Pretend Hope is Real

Today, June 28, is a day of reflection for me. In one sense, it is a normal day—a day like any other. But in an another way the day has deep personal significance. This day impels me to think deeply, with mixed gratitude and regret, about how I came to be who I am and to acknowledge that the past sets the stage for the future. Today, my emotions are complex; a tangle of joy and anguish about all the yesterdays and the promise of every tomorrow. As powerful as today’s imprint is on me, though, it is not about me. Words lack the power to explain the inexplicable.

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Yesterday’s morning’s visit with my oncologist confirmed that the results of my PET scan were not what I had hoped for. The changes in my body went in the wrong direction, leading the doctor to make some changes in treatment. The intent, from the start, was for me to have a four-course round of chemo treatments, followed by two years of immunotherapy. Tuesday’s results revealed that the progress initially made during chemo was largely “undone.” So, the oncologist plans to use a different combination of chemo therapies, including one to which I had developed an allergy early on; she will use a process intended to “desensitize” me to that drug. Assuming that process is effective, she will combine that drug with some others (plus immunotherapy) to continue chemo. She also referred me to a pulmonologist for a bronchoscopy, which may help identify certain attributes of some areas of concern revealed by the PET scan. I have yet to learn when that procedure will be scheduled. Mi novia pointed out to me that the oncologist did not appear panicked by the results (if she had appeared panicked, I might be a tad more concerned). The magnesium level in my blood remains inadequately low, so yesterday’s office visit was capped by a one-hour infusion; an attempt to overcome that stubborn inadequacy. I will have another magnesium infusion on Monday. My hope for a respite from taking up residence in the oncology center seems to have been dashed. 🙂 So it goes.

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We watched and listened in horror to last night’s Presidential Debate. Just a few minutes in, both of us began to cringe at every one of Biden’s unintelligible responses, his failure to call out Trump’s inexhaustible supply of lies, and visual clues about the President’s confusion. I like Joe Biden, but his performance during last night’s debate was horrendous. During the debate, mi novia and I described our reactions to the situation; the talking heads’ discussions after the debate echoed our deep, deep concerns. I cannot imagine Biden successfully recovering from such an abysmal performance. Even in the face of the oh-so-obvious lies that spewed from Trump’s mouth, Biden could not seem to collect his thoughts to respond. I do not see a way out; even if Biden were to leave the race, I cannot imagine Harris (or anyone else) gathering enough steam to overcome last night’s debacle. I will (with more than a little distaste in my mouth) vote for whoever is at the top of the Democratic ticket, of course; a second Trump term would be (and, I’m afraid, will be) utterly disastrous. Damn it!

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Oklahoma says it will require the Bible to be taught in public schools. Louisiana will require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in the state’s classrooms. Religious zealots all over the country (but especially in the South) are pulling out all the stops to try to get judgements from the Supreme Court that would tear down all remnants of the wall between church and state. Welcome to the End Times.

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I wish I could find an inspiring quotation—extolling the power of hope—that could convince me of its own validity. But every time I find one that seems to hold promise, it implodes on itself. Are all “hopograms” as substantively imaginary as holograms?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to We Pretend Hope is Real

  1. John Swinburn says:

    Thanks, Bev.

  2. bevwigney says:

    I didn’t watch the debate, but did read a long thread of comments about it on the Dull Women’s Club (Original) group on FB. About 99 percent probably felt as you do. However, several recommended reading Heather Cox Richardson’s FB post. I just did so and am feeling somewhat better. Probably a good thing to do.

    I’m sorry about the PET scan report. It sounds like your oncologist is staying on top of things. I know it’s hard to push such things as scans out of your thoughts, but it’s really more about how you are feeling day to day. None of us really knows what the future holds.

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