Thursday, October 9, 2008

What would you Do????

Today I jumped onto Craigs List to peruse the missed connections ads... one caught my eye... "what would you do???" It was about a 23 year old kid diagnosed with cancer (no big details like which kind or anything) but it boiled down to he only had 8-12 months left to live, too late for treatment, just wanted to know top 5 things people would recommend to do.

Christ, even with "just" thyroid cancer we've all gone through our own lists... whether its because we have a stereotypical new view on life to live it to its fullest... or because we really think we might not have more time...

When I was first diagnosed I was sure I wouldn't live to see my 23rd birthday. (I was diagnosed just towards the end of being 21, first surgery just before 22... I'm sure eventually I'll get through the whole story... just not yet) What I will tell you is that I've hit every branch on the things that go wrong tree, except the two big ones.... the ones no one talks about... 1) what if it spreads to my lungs and bones? 2) what if the radiation was too much, or my body couldn't take it... and i end up with leukemia? (yes, that's why they limit how much radiation you can get) and so its a lot of what ifing. And a lot of time questioning if you ought to have died... if you cheat death... Questioning what would happen if you stopped taking your pills? How long could you live? Is taking the pills in essence living on borrowed time? Its all pretty morbid... and I'm pretty sure it probably takes its toll. A lot of worry, a lot of planning... etc... Anyway, this here was my response to the kid:

Hey,
As great as it is to ask for top 5 lists, you really have to figure out the one thing that makes you happiest, which really isn't anything anyone can tell you. I got diagnosed w/ the cancer at 21, two recurrences, I'm 25 now... Unlike you, I've had an excessively stupid amount of time to think about all of this... but from the "what if" perspective. This is what I've come up with...

For me, personally, traveling is my favorite thing to do, i would leave, I've got my route already mapped out, i would sell everything i have and leave, I'd let people know dates I was going to be for most of the trip if they wanted to see me, and i would push it till i couldn't push it any further... and i would dive... I'm a scuba diver... its my passion.... and keep a blog about all of it for everyone else

After my second diagnosis i jumped out of a plane... i do recommend that... its the only time being sick where the feeling of helplessness is exciting

and, as morbid as it sounds, take one day, and preplan what you want done. For me it was to create a slide show and music for my funeral, stuck in an envelope put somewhere where it can be found... its not worth dwelling over more than one day.

And here in Pittsburgh, i would take all my friends for a round of bar golf on the south side, w/ the hopes of ending up at the west end overlook to scale the railing and sit out on the rocks w/ a bottle of wine and sunrise.

1 comment:

Sophie said...

I noticed how you wrote "just" thyroid cancer. I was diagnosed 3 years ago. Scariest thing for a 19 year old to go through. I can't tell you how angry it made me when people said "oh it's the best cancer to have because it's so treatable" well that doesn't take the fear away and doesn't mean that that applies to everyone that they will be treated.
It's nice to see someone blogging about this and sharing their experiences!