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An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2013-05-31 05:21
Subject: [cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, minor indignities edition
Security: Public
Tags:books, cancer, health, meta3, personal, stories, writing
Non-Cancer Medical News

After consulting with my primary care physician, we have discontinued both Lovastatin and low-dose aspiring aspirin. His comment was that given the brevity of my remaining lifespan, the odds of me having a heart attack in that timeframe are quite low, and I didn't need to cope with the side effects of the medication. The aspirin conflicts with some of my other medications, and it's just two less pills for me to take. And so it goes, as we continue to slowly shut things down.

Minor Indignities

Remember my smashed toe? It still hurts. Yesterday I also managed to give myself a fairly significant paper cut under the nail of my right index finger. This after giving myself a minor paper cut on the tip of that same finger last week. And yes, I am right-handed. Also, cooking dinner I spattered hot olive oil from the pan across my right forearm. Which hurt like crazy. None of this is really cancer related, but all of it is proof that the small pains of life don't grant forbearance in the face of medical disaster.

Business Details

We were supposed to meet with a financial planner yesterday to discuss end-of-life and estate planning issues, but they injured themselves the night before and had to reschedule. (They are fine now.) Everything I've tried to do lately at the business end of death-and-dying has been like this. For example, a certain financial services department I needed a quick response from was on delayed schedule due to undergoing internal audit the week I needed them. Taking care of my to-do list has been like swimming in mud. I suppose this stuff goes on all the time, but I am acutely aware of it right now due to my own deteriorating situation and need to reach closure on an enormous number of issues.


I was working on my METAtropolis: Green Space novella yesterday, parsing the Rio Hondo critique. Good stuff. While I was doing so, however, I was struck once more with the inescapable reality that my voice is being stilled. My name may live on for a long time, if I am lucky, but it will be a ghostly luck. As an atheist and an empiricist, I can only see death as personal extinction. The spirit or consciousness are inextricable emergent properties of the brain's structure and functionality. There is absolutely no objective evidence for their survival beyond the death of the brain. When the grave calls, I shall travel into that darkness from which there is no return. Sobeit. But sometimes the prospect catches at my breath and gives my heart pause. I will miss life, mightily.

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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2013-05-31 13:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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User: a_cubed
Date: 2013-05-31 13:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's interesting that even in a post stressing your atheism that it seems impossible to get away from talking about yourself post-death as capable of thinking/feeling: "I will miss life mightily". You miss now and while you're still here you will continue to miss the anticipation of having life to live and to look back on, but once you're gone there will be no you to miss the life that has ended.
But hugs, from one atheist to another because despite what some theists and supernatural thinkers claim and believe, we atheists care deeply about one another (and even about the theists and supernatural thinkers too, though they make it harder).
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2013-05-31 13:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For myself, I find it easier to separate belief in afterlife from belief in Deity. It is possible to be spiritual without being a Believer, IMO. Whether it is a Jungian gestalt/overmind or whatever we return to after death, I think there's something. But I don't necessarily tie the afterlife to a belief in God or gods.

(Part of this is based on an odd little memory which is my absolute first one, which represents itself as a birth memory and the clear thought of "here we go again" before coming out from darkness into light. No memory before that, nothing immediately after. Real? Not real? All I know is that I remember occasionally recalling this memory in early childhood, so it predates a lot of conscious teaching about religion. Plus odd little encounters with--something--post-demise. Some spirits are pretty strong, and I did have encounters with something that felt like my mother, my mother-in-law, and my dear friend last summer post-demise. You're welcome to come visit me as well)
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User: fledgist
Date: 2013-05-31 18:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wonder if "low-dose aspiring" is a typo of the Freudian kind?

Solidarity, Jay!

Edited at 2013-05-31 06:26 pm (UTC)
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User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2013-05-31 18:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I suppose this stuff goes on all the time, but I am acutely aware of it right now

now the Lake Factor is spiralling in a new direction.. its frustrating and it bobbles the things to do list, I used to feel that it was personal when it happened to me, (and I still do come to think of it) but the world sucks.. a lot..
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Oz Whiston writing as Oz Drummond
User: birdhousefrog
Date: 2013-05-31 21:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Your survival is in both your writing and in the people you've touched and who they, in turn, touch. You will never be wiped out to nothing, Jay. Your voice will never be completely stilled. Where I followed the blog before, where I had a passing professional acquaintance for the workshops, I now have a personal connection. Our paths have crossed and linked. You affected me, my reality, changed my life with a week of your company and that will have an impact on my life, my child's life, etc. It may not be an earthshattering change, but it's a change to my reality. Your voice will still be here with me. I just won't be able to add to the connection. My loss, not yours.

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January 2014
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