One week ago today, the head oncologist told my wife I had maybe two weeks to live. Since then, some predictions are coming in at “a few months.” And you always hear about someone’s Uncle Charlie who was entered into hospice 23 years ago and is still going strong.
For those just getting this news, it turns out the flu and pneumonia are not my problems. Cancer is my problem, and it’s spreading faster than before. So here’s hoping I can pull an Uncle Charlie.
It’s amazing how freeing being given a limited time frame can be. Everything on my “things to do today lists” is vanquished forever. I completely stopped worrying about the items in my written lists and the lists that exist in the cracks in the back of my mind. Those last ones pop out at unexpected moments to tell me I still haven’t lived up to promises I made to others and to myself. (Thank God I never saddled myself with a bucket list.) Those lists are guilt-magnets. And now, poof… Gone forever. Good riddance.*
Now, with nothing I have to do, I’m looking forward to doing some things I want to do. Tomorrow is going to be great.
*There is one list I can’t help feeling guilty about abandoning. When I was a senior English major in 1970, the world was going a little crazy. Protests, students taking over University, riots, Kent State, etc. Of course (of course!) we couldn’t take tests in that environment. So a skeptical but graceful professor in my “Modern British Novel” course, made us pledge that we read five specific novels. I took the pledge and immediately lost the reading list. I’ve been meaning for the past 43 years to see if I could find it to finish my assignment. I’m not sure, but I’m betting that’s not going to happen now.