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  • Writer's pictureDrew Dotson

One of one

We’re 50 days into this cancer thing. It’s still somewhat surreal to type that, yet it’s also difficult to remember life before the diagnosis. Thankfully there’s not much to report; Ramón’s treatment has been complication-free thus far, and we hope to keep it that way. He received platelets on Monday, and he might be due up for some blood tomorrow. (Side note: Many people have inquired about donating blood or platelets. If you’re interested and/or able, please take a look at,, or to donate. Also, while you’re at it, join the bone marrow registry at You could be someone’s hero. You’re already my hero, FYI.)

I keep thinking about something the hematologist/oncologist said during our first week in the hospital. Naturally, upon learning of a diagnosis, people’s minds venture to the prognosis – AKA survival rates. Even though I know first-hand how quickly statistics can make you feel defeated, you can bet your bottom dollar I was already reading the third Google result when the doctor was halfway through the word “leukemia.” The numbers were not looking good. After some processing, I very bluntly asked the doctor about some of the numbers I read. His answer echoes in my thoughts.

“The only thing you need to be concerned with is one of one.”

I’d been analyzing percentages and guessing what made our situation similar or different or blah blah blah – needless hypothesizing. But now I was given permission to worry about one of one. What happens to one (Ramón) of one (also Ramón): an individual with his own set of circumstances that cannot be illustrated by a graph, a chart, or some number-crunching?

I’ve taken the one of one thing even further, especially the deeper we get into this fight. Growing up with cystic fibrosis, I have always had my battles with anxiety – namely how to process a future filled with so much uncertainty and doubt. The nebulous concept of “future” can be quite overwhelming, but really it’s an ongoing sequence of one of ones.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been breaking everything down into whatever increment feels doable. At times, I’m focused on one of one day. Other times, I just want to make it through one of one morning. Sometimes it becomes one of one hour and, other times, when the fatigue engulfs me, I just need to take one of one breath. Though one can sound very small, it has immeasurable power. One is now, and it belongs to you. Wishing you all a peaceful next one!


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