Hope vs Expectation
Last updated: September 2019
The words hope and expectation are almost synonymous. Hope is a feeling of desire for a certain thing to happen. Expectation is a strong belief that something will happen.
My first marathon
In 1960 I was twelve, and after watching a barefoot Ethiopian named Abebe Bikila win the marathon at the Rome Olympics, I hoped I would someday run a marathon. In 1983 I was thirty-five, and I expected to complete my first marathon because I had trained for five months and dedicated my efforts to my pregnant wife and our unborn child. I completed the marathon on December 18th, 1983, and our son, Willie, was born on December 21st.
I hoped I was fit enough to run the race in three hours and thirty minutes, an eight minute per mile pace. I ran it in three hours and twenty-six minutes, ten seconds per mile faster than I hoped. On that day my hopes and expectations were rewarded by my efforts, both through my training and during the race.
Effort grants no guarantee
Most of the time, hope (desire) has to be met by effort which leads to expectation (belief). Currently, I have a desire to be a better guitar player so I’m taking lessons and, slowly, I’m improving to the point where I can have the expectation of being better if I continue to work at it. But even with effort there’s no guarantee that an expectation will be met, that a belief will become reality.
During the year between my prostate cancer diagnosis and my decision to have a radical laparoscopic prostatectomy, I learned as much as I could about the side effects of the surgery. The two big ones, erectile dysfunction and incontinence, were daunting, but neither seemed as threatening as having cancer.
My doctor told me that with time, effort and maybe some medication for the ED, there was a good chance that both conditions would improve. Approaching seventy at the time, I was willing to have the surgery and take my chances with the side effects, hoping that my doctor was right, but careful not to have too high expectations. I knew I would have work to do.
Putting in the time and work
I’ve been kegeling to improve my pelvic floor muscle and eliminate my incontinence for nine months. In September, not completely satisfied with my progress, I started seeing a physical therapist. He told me that natural healing, accompanied by an altered kegeling routine, would increase my chances for full recovery, with one year as a target date.
At my last visit in December, we made some additional alterations to my exercises. He told me that most men would be pretty satisfied with my level of recovery, but, because of my demanding physical activity interests, I’d need an “Olympic effort” to reach my goal.
Staying realistic and hopeful
There is a real possibility that my expectation of full recovery may not be met, even if I follow the demanding exercise routine prescribed. It’s possible that no amount of exercise will strengthen my external sphincter to the degree that leaking will stop altogether. There are procedures available that might help, but we’re not there yet.
So, I still have hope and my efforts have been such that I still have expectations, but I have to be prepared for a different outcome that might somewhat impact my lifestyle. At twelve months, if necessary, we’ll start looking at other options. And there’s one thing I can’t forget: I no longer have cancer. Yesterday, January 10, 2019, at my third quarterly visit to my urologist, my PSA was <0.04. That’s very good news.
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