Is my latest cancer update good news or bad news?

Is my latest cancer update good news or bad news? To be sure, in many ways, it’s good news. Probably very good news. And yet, it’s hard not to feel something like the father who said to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Except that, of course, it’s not the father and his son, but me and myself.

Part of the problem is that an update is, well, without context, just an update. I had a blood test, just like every other visit. A number comes back. I kind of have an idea of what’s bad news. And kind of an idea of what’s good news.

But then there’s a range in the middle where I just don’t know. I need some context to the number. And when the number comes on a cell phone. there’s no one to ask about the context.

Sure, the oncologist is right on the other side of the door. But she’s waiting for the blood results, just like me.

Of course, I could ignore my phone. Not read the message that comes in from the lab with the results. And most of the time, with most other things, I can totally do that. But not with this. I had to know. It was the difference between beginning radiation and continuing in surveillance.

Will the latest test result be good news or bad news?

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