What’s the best route?


I have a brain tumor, gastroparesis, and Bipolar. I have recently had surgery for my gastroparesis, and doctors are going back and forth about my various medical conditions. My main stomach doctor tells me that he has found a cure for my gastroparesis, but my other doctors tell me that I should expect to see no improvement. It’s basically just a bunch of uncertainty, and I’m having a lot of trouble managing my expectations. This situation seems to surface a lot with my health issues, both the gastroparesis and the brain tumor. I currently am at no risk for dying.

As weird as this sounds, I’ve developed a lot of control of my emotions; one of the perks of being forced to adapt to a mental illness. I see two routes I can go down:

1. Become enthusiastic and think positively about a cure. After all, the placebo effect is strong, and sometimes a good attitude can boost your body’s defenses.
2. Be guardedly optimistic and realistic. I have many times been let down when a doctor’s “cure” failed to materialize. As someone who struggles with mental illness, it is especially difficult to endure these disappointments when I have allowed my hopes to get so high.

What should I do? If anyone else here has had any experience with uncertainty in a medical context (or really any context), I’d love to hear about how you handled it.

Category: Tags: asked June 27, 2014

1 Answer

I think that, if possible, you should try to take a bit from each path- be guardedly optimistic, but think realistically and positively about a cure.
This is the method I've personally used for a while. I've been getting treatment for a disease for eight years now- both the infrequency with which I have to get the treatment and the amount of time I've been getting it are anomalies. I'm not sure how much longer I'll respond to it, so I've let myself take on that guarded optimism of "maybe it will work for another year"...it's easier than planning for failure or perfection.
And as far as cures go, I say be at least slightly positive about a possibility! It's important to know all the facts and look at the outcome realistically, but it's also good to hold onto a little hope. I know there's no cure for me yet, but I always try to focus on the yet- nothing can go uncured forever, with science maturing as it is.
That's just how I deal with medical uncertainty, I hope the way you choose works well for you! Good luck with everything.