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[cancer] Forget Roger Daltrey, I hope I get old before I die - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-06-23 05:02
Subject: [cancer] Forget Roger Daltrey, I hope I get old before I die
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, health, personal
Yesterday was ok. maclark2005 came over and kept an eye on me, which is often needful Monday and Tuesday post-infusion, as I tend to be wobbly on concepts like "eating". calendula_witch made it back late last night from San Francisco, long after I'd gone deep asleep.

I am feeling better. One of the ways I cope with bad stuff (for example, the 40% possibility of further metastasis) is by running to the dark edge and kicking a few rocks over. This can be mistaken by the casual observer for wallowing or obsessive negativity, but I think of it more as beating the bounds. Know where the borders of fear are, then go back to my center and keep an eye out.

In the mean time, I've made an ophthalmological appointment to go with my various cancer followups, dental appointment and foot appointment. Colonscopy scheduler is supposed to call me today or tomorrow. So, assuming I don't have foot cancer, glaucoma, rotten teeth, recurrent metastases or an aggressive return of my primary cancer, I'll be fine for a while. Getting all this done before heading for Australia and New Zealand in late August with calendula_witch so I can travel with as much peace of mind as can be brought to bear.

It is true, in a deep sense, that I no longer expect to live to be old. When I say this, I don't mean, "ZOMG, I'm going to die!!!" Rather, I used to just unthinkingly assume I'd tick along into my 70s or something then deal with the issues of ailments and eldering. Now I recognize that each day, each year, is a gift. Time is something I will never get back. My personal clock echoes very loudly in my soul.

Another truth is that even if I lived to be 112 in perfect health, I'd never accomplish everything I'd like to. This seems like a liberating insight to me. I am free from at least certain expectations. This lets me focus on what I want to do, and sometimes (such as chemotherapy) what I have to do.

So I don't think I'm going to live to be old. I just think I'm going to live. If I get old in the bargain, well, bonus. If not, every day between now and whenever the ride ends is a good day. Somehow.

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evannichols
User: evannichols
Date: 2010-06-23 12:39 (UTC)
Subject: Now that you mention it, Roger Daltrey is looking kinda old...
Amen to that. None of us really know how many days we get. I do hope you get a lot, and they're filled with far more of what you want to do than what you have to do.
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Little and foxy and sexy... what more do you want?
User: little_foxy
Date: 2010-06-23 13:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Just curious as to what the schedule might be when in Aus, I would love to be able to meet both you and the lovely witchy lady if I can get schedules to meet and of course if you both agree. (I live near Sydney if that helps..)

I actually like the way you descrive that, running to a dark edge and kicking rocks over... I too deal with serious issues in a similar way, work out what the worst possible scenario is, mull it over (or wallow as others often put it) and then deal with it in my head and then get to be pleasantly surprised when the worst doesn't happen.

I guess every one deals with things in their own way, optimism is one way, pessimism (?) is another.

Hope the feet are okay :)

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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-06-24 12:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't have the precise schedule in front of me, but basically we'll be in Melbourne for WorldCon, arriving the Wednesday before, and I believe leaving the following Monday or Tuesday. Will you be able to get down there? We'd love to see you.
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Little and foxy and sexy... what more do you want?
User: little_foxy
Date: 2010-06-25 01:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
not sure if I can get to Melb then, will be down there at the start of the month for a work conference, not sure if I can afford the time off at the end of the month as well :( but never say never...
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-06-27 18:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hope you can make it!
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-06-23 13:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yeah. I've lived with this shadow for a while, not because of anything that's happened to me but because my mother died (of cancer) when I was age 29.

By all rights (family genetics and all), she should still be tottering around today. Her mother and aunts all died in their 90s of strokes, not cancer at age 69.

It's something that lurks in the thoughts of at least two of her children, as my oldest brother told me on his 70th birthday, "I beat Mom," and told me of his worries in November, when he was exactly the same age she was when she died. I'd been thinking the same thing--and her death brought it home to me that you can't predict the day and the hour of your own death. She and Dad had set their retirement financial plans based on her outliving him, and she had the greater income. It was really traumatic and touch and go for a while to get him established, and it made a big impression on me about retirement planning.

I know my DH was worried about having a heart attack from stress just like his father when he hit that age--but as I told him, unlike his father, he was under closer medical supervision including blood pressure medication from a younger age. His dad got run down from physical overwork and the stress of running a small dairy farm. Different things entirely...

So I am totally with you about looking at that dark edge. I'd much rather know the bounds, myself, then delude myself that all is sunlight and roses and little birdies chirping in perfect harmony. Things just go better that way (and I am such a dour, moody sort that I can outmood Elric of Melnibone on a good day, riiiight?).
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Kate Schaefer
User: kate_schaefer
Date: 2010-06-23 14:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, yeah, the gift thing. I stopped breathing and fell over once when I was thirty. I think it was an anaphylactic reaction to squid, but I'm not sure, because it happened some hours after eating the squid. For some time after that, I was very, very conscious that I was alive, with a limited amount of time and no knowledge of precisely where that limit fell. Every moment since then: a gift.

My relationship with Glenn started six months after I fell over. That whole thing, the love of my life, the stepdaughters, the grandchildren, all the complications of family life, gifts.

May you have as many and as complex a set of gifts.
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shaolingrrl
User: shaolingrrl
Date: 2010-06-23 17:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's a bitch wisdom sometimes comes at such a price. But--for you, especially, I hope you've paid the price and you get to keep the wisdom. :-}
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Laurel Amberdine: sky
User: amberdine
Date: 2010-06-23 19:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:sky
One of the ways I cope with bad stuff (for example, the 40% possibility of further metastasis) is by running to the dark edge and kicking a few rocks over. This can be mistaken by the casual observer for wallowing or obsessive negativity, but I think of it more as beating the bounds. Know where the borders of fear are, then go back to my center and keep an eye out.

People misunderstanding this and worrying about you might also not understand extroverts. I occasionally get freaked out at my husband telling me things, because I'd have to be really upset to start saying that kind of thought out loud. But he just says whatever he's thinking, where I process everything very carefully for audience consumption before speaking.

In any case, preemptively dealing with the worst-case worry is a very smart way to deal with big stresses.
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martianmooncrab
User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2010-06-23 20:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Every birthday is a gift. I never expected to make it to 21, walked away from a spectacular airplane crash just days after my 22nd birthday... its all good.
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User: xjenavivex
Date: 2010-06-23 20:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've never expected to get old. Cancer runs heavily through my mom's side of the family. I always figured it would get me eventually. I was a little surprised to make it to thirty even though I was never really a wild child. Except for where certain filters apply and that didn't come until these past few years.

Live every day as if it is your last. It is a darn hard thing to do. Yet, I've aspired to it for a long time, remain focused on it.

Kick at the rocks. Test the boundaries. Laugh over the edge of the canyon.::hugs you tight::
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Karen
User: klwilliams
Date: 2010-06-24 00:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I find that if I consider worst case scenarios (however grim) and develop some kind of plan of what to do, I feel better, even if the plan doesn't leave me winning.
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alumiere
User: alumiere
Date: 2010-06-24 02:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you for the reminder; especially the last couple of paragraphs.
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