What’s the opposite of certainty?

I mean, besides uncertainty. Doubt, incertitude, doubtfulness, dubiousness — or, my personal favorite, dubiety.

This morning, before seeing our friends from Seattle Aurelia and Tim off to the airport after an extended holiday visit, we sat in the coffee shop (by now, you should know which coffee shop) with the four of us and Aurelia’s brother Léo. As Dawn and Aurelia played their favorite card game (Spite & Malice), Léo read a book called Neural Prosthesis: Replacing motor function after disease or disability, and Tim and I waded through the NY Times I noticed an article in the Business section with this headline: Coping Skills and Horrible Imaginings. Naturally it caught my eye.

In the piece, Alina Tugend writes —

Nov. 17 is officially “Coping With Uncertainty Day.” …I really think we need more than a day. In fact, 2008 could be the “Coping With Uncertainty Year.”

And I thought, you got that straight. Or, more to my taste, “Coping With Dubiety Year.”

But then, that’s not quite right either — especially because the dubiety continues, uninterested in the arbitrary numbers we assign our tomorrows. At the moment, the most uncertainty seems to be regarding my continuing treatment. At last word, the surgeon in Indiana who is to remove the remainder of my tumor is very busy and may not be able to operate on me until mid-February. As a result, we have lots of unanswered questions for my doctor down there, Dr. Einhorn:

Is it okay to wait that long to remove the tumor?

Would the resulting delay in my oral chemo regimen affect its efficacy?

And then there are a few questions that Dawn and I have to ask ourselves (mostly centering on this thought):

Should I plan on going back to work before the surgery — it seemed so perfect a plan to have the surgery this month, recover, and then go back to work while on the oral chemo.

When we have answers, I will be sure to let you know. It will be a relief to release some of the incertitude, doubtfulness, and dubiousness from life.


There is a first time for everything, and yesterday it was for Mike ice skating. I figure, if I’m going to live in a part of the world that freezes over for months at a time, I might as well take advantage of it and do things we just don’t do where I grew up. Dawn and I are planning on buying some ice skates of our own now, so that I can get better (much better, I hope) at it. Here are some photos from yesterday’s adventure…




8 Responses to “What’s the opposite of certainty?”

  1. Hooray for new adventures! I’m not usually big on having slippery things under my feet, but I have grown fond of cross country skiing. You might enjoy it, too. It brought me hours of sanity during last winter, and gives me a reason to rejoice when it snows. Have fun learning to ice skate! That’s one thing I haven’t mastered yet.

  2. Yes, we want to do that (cross country skiing) too, but for me it will have to wait until I have more stamina and am back “in shape.”

  3. I did cross country skiing for the first time last year, when I visited Taka’s hometown in winter. It was fun, and I thought it was a bit like ice skating in a way. So if you practice ice skating now, it might be easier to learn how to cross county ski in the future! 🙂

  4. Linda Karrigan Says:

    Hey Mike,
    it was nice to finally meet you in person today at the Preschool. You look great! Hang in there, we all are praying for you! LK

    • Linda,
      It was nice to meet you (and so many of your colleagues) today at Preschool of the Arts too. The love and support you guys have given us ever since I was first diagnosed in 2007 has been so generous and helped Dawn and I through so many rough patches. We can’t thank you all enough.

  5. Looks like you were at Vilas. That’s where we first took our girls skating. Good memories and good times. Your ankles look pretty straight and strong. I believe more skating is in your future!

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