Optimism and Realism…

optimist realist glass

photo credits google images

Finally! Another Feel Good Day.

I woke up at 5:45 this morning feeling well, no pain, no shivering, no fever.

Yesterday I estimated that for every 2 good days, I was averaging 3 bad days which is laughable because it is far from true.

Typical for my nature, I was being overly optimistic and not realistic. There are great qualities that come with an optimistic nature, however the problems which accompany that optimism directly correlate with the optimist’s tendency to overshoot in ambition what can actually be done. And though I have not had a professional tell me that this as a fact, my 42 years of repeated life lessons are making it pretty clear. I overshoot and end up setting myself and others up for disappointment (now there is a topic to dissect with a therapist!)…

Realism and optimism, neither is wrong or right. A good balance is important and I have such a hard time finding that balance.

Looking through recent text messages sent back and forth between my immediate family, I can see that I had 2 good days last week: Tuesday and Wednesday.

I remember my husband saying “wow, you seem to be doing so well, you seem…”….I finished his sentence…”almost like a normal person”.

That was Wednesday evening after I had managed to cook supper. I love to cook which meant the evening was a treat for both of us as I felt happy and creative, plus we had something delicious to eat. Bonus, the house smelled yummy.

It was reminiscent of the thousands of evenings we have taken for granted.

Then, I overstepped my strength. I watched Downton Abbey.

 It was ~ 8:00 PM and I decided to watch the episode we had recorded the previous Sunday. I was so tired that I was starting to get that shivery feverish feeling and I remember thinking,” I should stop, I should call it a night, I should go to sleep”. But it was only 8:00 and I really wanted to see what Lady Mary, Lady Edith, Tom, Lord Crawley and The Countess of Grantham, as well as their dog Isis were up to–side note, has anyone else noticed that the cast has conveniently not “called” the dog’s name out loud during this season? Apparently, the adorable pup has had a pretty tough run lately because of his name, poor thing….

I digress…

…So, I decided to curl up on the couch and assured myself that it would not wear me out to lay there and mindlessly watch one episode. About 45 minutes later my husband had to help me get to bed and although he was not carrying me, he was doing most of the heavy lifting. When we reached the bedside, he kissed my forehead and said “sweetheart, why didn’t you go to bed earlier? you can’t push yourself like this.”

to which I replied “it felt so good to do normal things”.

That was followed by 5 days of sleep, sadness, shivering, fevers, pain, and what felt in every way like I was stepping backwards, not forwards.

Yesterday was the sickest I had been over the series of the 5 days. And it broke me, it burst my optimistic spirit. It shoved realism in my face and forced me to confront the thought that I have not allowed to cross my mind, “what will the oncologist say tomorrow?”. We are counting and betting on the simple, explanation “the leukemia grew resistant to Gleevec, you are now on a new and better chemotherapy and we will keep following you, have a nice day”.

But in the very back of my mind, especially on a day like yesterday, the question lurks, what exactly is going on?

I recently asked my husband what we will do if the oncologist has more to tell us than the simple explanation and hubby said, “that is why I will be with you”.

My husband is a realist and I am an optimist. I am finding the journey of life, the people we partner up with and the lessons we learn from one another to be, frankly, ironic. Ironic in a very good kind of way.


Christmas Day 2011.

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