Sunday, August 28, 2016

Why I won't say I'm cured (fingers crossed)

Baseball players and managers, known for their superstitions, might have a rival in cancer survivors.

My social worker once told me that she had a patient who always wore the same pair of earrings to the clinic because she had gotten a good report with them on and didn't want to jinx herself.

For years I carried around my meds in the brown paper bag that my discharge nurse put them in when I left the hospital after my fourth transplant in 2008. Since I had stayed healthy using the same bag, I didn't want to jinx myself by getting another. I finally gave in when the bottom of the bag started to rip and stray pills fell through the holes. (I haven't upgraded, though. I still put them in whatever I can find. Lately it's a plastic bag from the supermarket.)

I bring this up because when writing my upcoming essay in espnW.com,  I used the word cured in sentences without ever saying it directly.

For example, even though after five years I was officially cured (knock wood), I have to say, "They say I'm cured," rather than "I am cured."

The point of the essay is that tennis helped me get to where I am. It is expected to run Thursday. If you read it you will notice that I never said "tennis helped me get cured." I had to explain this reluctance to the editor and I think she understood.

I know that this all amounts to magical thinking but I'm still not going to run the risk of jinxing myself.

On the other hand (I can hear an editor saying, "on the other hand, I have five fingers," meaning it's a silly phrase but since it's my blog I'm gonna do it anyway), the first time I hit the two-year mark when my doctor had said "you can break out the Champagne," I consciously didn't have a big celebration, instead having coffee with friends, because I didn't want to send a hubristic signal to the universe that might cause my hopes to be dashed.

I relapsed anyway, therefore showing that going undercover didn't help me.

Still, I'm not going to say I'm cured. But I welcome other people saying it about me.

2 comments:

pamela perkins said...

As a superstitious person -- I totally understand - and whenever I recommend your blog - which is quite drequently I use the English version --,touch wood
xop

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