Ever heard of “Back-Up Hope?”

We live in hope’s shadow when we live in cancer world.

We hold on to every ounce of hope there is, because it is what gets us through the really tough days.   Hope is there on the good days too.  In fact, it is on the good days when we can replenish our hope.  Good news pushes more hope into our heart and we get a boost that’s better than a B12 shot!

We walk in the doors of a chemo room or prepare for a radiaiton treatment and hope steps-in ahead of us.  When we’re under the cover of darkness, trying to quiet our mind and find some peace, hope can soothe the way. 

Then, for some of us, the cancer begins to move and grab at that hope.  Our doctor gives us the news that treatment options have run out and it’s time to think about palliative care or even hospice care. 

Have we run out of hope? 

At this retreat I mentioned yesterday, where couples living with advanced pancreas cancer attended over the weekend, there was a session with the Chaplain of the Kimmel Cancer Center.  She talked about the different types of hope.  She and I had a conversation about having “back-up hope.”  This is a concept I wish I had thought about when Leroy and I were dealing with the final phases of his cancer.  “Back-up” hope is what you need….what you must have when your original “hope” begins to  fade.  Your ideas for how you want your final weeks of life to be..the final days…the final day.  “Back-up” hope says you’re not giving-up or giving-in, you’re making a transition.  If you’re religious, your “back-up hope” will be defined in your beliefs too.  If not, maybe it leans more to the spiritual side of your mind. 

It’s an interesting way to look at the concept of hope.  

Back-up or not…Hope gets us through the hard parts of this journey.

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