Friday, August 20, 2010

The Oddity of Odds

Hans appears to have done his thing. Now that Dori is in remission, which we learned yesterday, we get a real break and much better outlook.

Throughout this journey, we've been given or seen percentages. Three years ago, Dori read she had a 21% chance of five-year survival with AML. Last month when she didn't reach remission, we were told the graft vs. leukemia effect she needed had a 10% to 25% chance of occurring.

My wife is mathmatically inclined. Her brain likes numbers and analyses. I come more from the other side of the brain. Tell me something isn't likely or possible, and I'll do what I can to prove you're wrong.

Odds don't mean jack squat to me. Hell, we're Vanderbilt fans, we know what being an underdog is. Every situation is different, and the oddsmakers don't know what we're up to or what we're doing.

Let me tell you about Liz, part of our wonderful team. Dori's roommate in college and sorority sister, Liz remains a very close friend. Liz has called or texted me almost every day since Dori's relapse. Some days, when I'm exhausted or behind, I think about skipping a day of catching up with Liz. That would be a mistake.

Liz the Great has made a point to keep about 10 sorority sisters across the country informed about Dori. In July, these fine ladies pooled resources and bought Dori the iPad she loves. Because Liz is keeping their close-knit group well informed, Dori receives several e-mails a day from them on the iPad they gave her. They are part of a connected team that keeps Dori thinking and moving. Oddsmakers don't know about Liz and those women in Atlanta, North Carolina and elsewhere.

There are many other special people who are in the foxhole with us. Of course, our families. Dori's boss is a blood cancer survivor and great guy. My friends Jim and Heather from Team in Training communicate often with Dori. Sweet Mariesa and Mary Belle are extraordinary cheerleaders. Our friends from the kids' school are amazing ... Melissa, Elizabeth, Kathy, David and Mona, Wendy and Rob, and the list goes on. We are surrounded by many big-hearted people, too many to list, who approach this challenge like we do. The odds can kiss our asses.

I'm relieved right now, but not euphoric. I'm not even registering in the middle of the Happy Meter. Underneath, I'm really glad we're in a meadow, alive with flowers and chirping birds after a soothing rain. But I'm staying reserved, I think, for several reasons.

I know this isn't over. I know I better not get giddy, or jinx losing the momentum. I'm not superstitious, I think, though I do always put the first shoe on my left foot and never step on the third base line. As a friend said yesterday, you know what you guys are dealing with, so that's why your enthusiasm is reserved. True, but even I've surprised myself with the temperate reaction.

It's a strange feeling, strange place, yet good at the same time. It certainly beats the alternative.


Ronni Gordon said...

Wow. That's terrific. I am so happy for you. Of course I know what you mean about never totally letting your guard down. But it seems like you both are doing a great job of enjoying the here and now.

PJ said...

We sometimes make our own odds. I'm lucky to have a doctor who doesn't volunteer them, and you really have to press him to give you numbers. iI'm so glad Dori's improving and can move to the next pahse.