Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Caution: optimism ahead

It's been less than two months since my first round of cancer treatments at Kaiser concluded, and one of my docs says that he is "cautiously optimistic" that they succeeded.

I can accept that. Heck, I'll take cautious optimism over buoyant pessimism any day.

Expressing cautious optimism may sound like my doctor is hedging his bets in case I croak. My reasoning skills may be clouded by chemo, but I don't see it that way.

Doctors don't have anything to gain by cooing sweet nothings that are pleasing to their patients' ears.

It's not like my doc is competing with Dr. Adam Lambert and desperately needs my vote to be elected as America's new Medical Idol and continue practicing medicine.

He's a doctor, not a fortune teller. If I wanted to hear in black-and-white terms whether I'm going to recover from this ordeal, I'd get my palm read. Since that procedure is not covered by my HMO, I'll hang on to my doc's forecast.

So as I wait to learn the outcome of my treatments, I've been doing some research. Turns out that cautious optimism is breaking out all over this spring.

  • Normally very guarded in his assessment of the surge [in Iraq], General David Petraeus now expresses cautious optimism. –ABC News

  • As troubles escalated in recent weeks for ailing Chrysler, Doug Swaim, general manager at Star Chrysler Jeep in Glendale, was cautiously optimistic. –Los Angeles Times

  • " 'Cautious optimism,' that's how we characterized Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's remarks today. But should we –and, more importantly, should he– emphasize the 'optimism' or the 'caution'?" –PBS

  • "We are cautiously optimistic that what we are seeing right now is presenting itself as a much milder [swine flu] virus than the initial cases." –Los Angeles Times

  • "I'm cautiously optimistic," said Rick Thorpe, the MTA's chief capital management officer, that "things [on the 405 Freeway] will continue to improve and the state will issue the bonds as they have been." –Los Angeles Times

  • "We're cautiously optimistic," said Jeri Crawford, who will become the Nevada Ballet and Philharmonic's president in May. –Los Angeles Times

  • Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano gave a "cautiously optimistic" outlook. "We have started to see encouraging signs that this virus may be mild, and its spread may be limited." –VOA News

  • [Starfleet Officer] Jerry Conner says he's followed the breadcrumb trail of details and hints about [the movie "Star Trek"]. He calls himself "cautiously optimistic" about it. –West Virgina Gazette

  • Barack Obama said he's "cautiously optimistic" about his chances [on Election Day], but McCain is putting up a tough fight. –CBN News

That last citation really gives me hope. I've yet to come across any evidence that anyone in the McCain camp was optimistic –cautiously or not– about their chances to be elected to the White House.

Call me a Pauly-anna, but I have a hunch that my doctor's cautious optimism is gonna break in my favor.

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