Okay, so what does this have to do with a bus, especially one tentatively endorsed by Schrödinger? I’ve said the phrase, ‘Live your life to the fullest, you never know when you’ll be hit by a bus,’ or words to that affect. I’m sure some of you reading this have as well. It is a Schrödinger’s Bus. The bus is both simultaneously about to hit you and never going to hit you. You can live your life wondering about a bus that may or may not be heading your way.
This is where someone with cancer, and I guess any serious and life-threatening illness veers away from this concept. I can only speak for me, so I guess I shouldn’t lump every other poorly person in with my ponderings. There is no Schrödinger’s Bus for me. I have turned around and I have seen the headlights, I have felt the warmth of the engine as it breathes down my neck. There is no comfortable maybe for me. There is a definitely. I have looked in the box.
We’re going to move vehicles and go to a boat. A big boat, and probably the most famous boat ever: The Titanic. When the passengers boarded they weren’t thinking about drowning in a frigid ocean or trapped in a sinking ship. They were dreaming about going to America; for work, for play, for a new life, for as many reasons as there were people on that fateful journey. They were on a Schrödinger’s Boat. Yes, each person was no doubt aware that boats can and do sink upon occasion. But they didn’t get on at Southampton thinking they were going to die. If they had no one would have gone, in fact if we all thought like that no one anywhere would ever use any transportation, because all modes of transport have killed, even skateboards and roller skates.
Back to the bus. That phrase: ‘Live your life to the fullest, you never know when you’ll be hit by a bus,’ is playing on my mind. It bothers me and has been for some time. It was only today that I worked it out. I used to think how terrific it would be if there was a machine I could plug my details into and after some computation my time of death would spit out. Oh, I would definitely go for it. How could you go wrong? If you find out you’ll live to one hundred, then take your time, live your life, what’s the rush? If you’ve got three weeks, then get on a plane, pack a lifetime into those twenty-one days with a smile on your face.
How wrong I was. It doesn’t free me, it weighs me down. Knowing you will die soon opens that box. Suddenly the bus isn’t a maybe, it’s behind you and you’re at a run. The levity vanishes from life and the inevitability of your end date becomes crushingly heavy. My Schrödinger’s Bus is the possibility of mets. Has my cancer spread more than it has already? That bus is coming at me from the side. Or is it? I haven’t opened that box yet. There are days when the aches and pains make me believe I am riddled. Then there are days when I am fine and I tell myself to stop being so stupid. And even here, it is different than an un-ill person. My hand is on the latch, ready to spring it open and peek inside. My box isn’t locked away in an unused lab. My box is next to me, it’s my travelling companion.
I hope this goes some way to explain how I, as a person with cancer feels.