I wish there was something we could do.
My apologies if I am probing too much, and/or being too morbid, but I wanted to ask. At some point, we each must face our own mortality. Has your diagnosis and/or reflection since, provided any wisdom and/or perspective you would be willing to share, either here publicly, or even privately? I would appreciate your thoughts, if you are willing to share.
I appreciate whatever time you choose to take from what you have left, to share here with us. All the best, to you, and to everyone, for the time we all have left.
No apologies necessary. Curiosity is as natural as mortality, and life itself is a terminal event. I always knew this; so post-diagnosis I never had a 'why me' moment, because 'why not me' would be the more relevant question. In 50 years, I'd never spent a night in a hospital, ever. I'm about to turn 51, which ain't half bad, considering they gave me 6 to 18 months almost exactly a year ago today. I went in thinking I might have an Appendicitis, but no such luck.
Stage 4 Colon Cancer is my official diagnosis, metastasized to a dozen plus places in my liver, which makes the liver portion inoperable. They guessed I'd probably had Colon Cancer for about a decade, and indeed, the day after they cut that sh!t out of my colon I felt better then I had in years; walked 3 miles per my phone, doing fast laps around the hospital pushing the cart-machine that pumps all the various sh!t into you. Prior to discovery and surgery, I was walking around with a hemoglobin level of just 5, which is about a third of what it should be. This is akin to only having 1/3 of your blood oxygen supply, and makes you feel really fatigued; even just walking from my car to my office I'd have to sit down.
Those days are now behind me, though the chemo too has a fatiguing effect... but that only lasts during and a few days after treatment. The chemo sucks, no way around that, but I am very fortunate that conserving energy by laying around is all I have to do to combat it. It doesn't make me sick like it does some, and I still have about half my beard... which seems to have stopped falling out altogether. (Downside to that, is I still have to shave my head.
) My carcinoembryonic antigen (measure of how much cancer my body is fighting) peaked at 89.8 before chemo (sounds high, but can reach the thousands) was just 0.8 last time I was tested. The cancer tumors themselves actually shrunk 20% in the last 3 months, which was not expected (the chemo is supposed to slow it down, but isn't considered curative.) All in all, I'm doing very well, expect to ride a lot this season and probably the next.
If I have any insight or advice worth sharing, it's this: Get yourself checked out, now. Colon cancer is going to occur in about 1 in 30 men, and the sooner they catch it, the more likely they are to be able to knock it out. Don't be a stubborn a$$hole like me, who waited till he could barely walk. Ideally, you want to catch it YEARS before you notice ANY symptoms whatsoever. Apart from the chemo-related neuropathy (numb tingly feeling in fingers and toes) and the fact that I sleep A LOT, I am in perfect health per every measurement they have (save for the whole dying of cancer thing.
) There is nothing tough or cool about being stubborn about seeing doctors; that's really just plain stupidity. So please, get yourself checked out regularly. Don't be like me.
Insight number two: If you think good insurance is expensive; try taking on a serious illness without it. I'm probably 3/4 of a million dollars into treatment in the last year. It completely wiped me out, and if it wasn't for my wonderful family and friends, I'd probably already be dead... or at least homeless and/or wishing I was dead. The silver lining there is; once you're destitute, you no longer have to pay for your care at all, and mad props are due to the staff at Columbia Saint Mary's who never seemed to give a rat's a$$ about financing. Do support Universal Healthcare, because everyone is eligible to lose this particular lottery and MANY more, and taxpayers pick up the difference as soon as you're broke anyway. It's a LOT cheaper to get regular checkups and catch stuff early, for you and every other taxpayer.
Insight number three: Money is infinitely less important than the time you spend with people who matter to you, and the experiences you have to look back on. This I fortunately got right, as I've never denied myself much in this regard. I am super-fortunate to have a sister and brother-in-law that love me, and welcomed me into their home for the rest of my days (or until the miracle cure arrives), and friends/family that will open theirs to me for cross-country visits. My biggest financial concerns now, are keeping the K16, keeping it running, and paying for Insurance and gas and places to rest in between the places where I have people to put me up. Hence, the reason I'm going "double dark" tomorrow if it stops raining, or Tuesday if it doesn't. I never thought twice about replacing tires early, with the best money could buy, but things change. The smarter move would be to just keep the old Honda Shadow, but I just can't let go of the K16... yet.
Sorry if those weren't the kind of insights you were looking for, but it's all I've got. I've never been a religious man, but do appreciate all the wonderful people who are praying for me. I wasn't built to wallow in misery, never have, and likely never will. Life is too short and is a terminal event. Mine will probably be over sooner than most, but even that isn't guaranteed (I feel pretty darn good!) Spend your time with the people you love, and doing what makes you happy. Tomorrow is guaranteed for no one.