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[Cancer]

[cancer] Living in the present because there is no future

Lisa Costello and I were talking about my emotional landscape yesterday, as we are frequently wont to do. I mentioned sometimes feeling envious of the young and healthy people with which our Portland life frequently surrounds us. We started to pick at that a little — it’s a very out of character emotion for me — and I arrived at an unhappy conclusion.

What I envy isn’t their youth and health, it’s their sense of the future.

As a terminal cancer patient, I have no future anymore. I only have today. I can’t plan anything more than a month or two ahead, and missed opportunities in my life will never get a do-over. No more dreams of going to Antarctica or spending a year living in Hong Kong or writing another book or seeing my daughter start her adult life.

Don’t get me wrong. My life is still pretty darned good. I live under enormous pressures that push me to the breaking point, but I still get out of bed every day. I am surrounded by love, laughter, delicious food, and entertaining people.

But there is no more.

We read and hear a lot of wisdom about being in the moment, about living for today. It’s pretty good wisdom, as wisdom goes. But when you have no choice but to be in the moment, that’s a different matter entirely.

I am lucky to even be alive at this point, let alone as relatively healthy as I am. I know that. But damn, do I miss having a future.

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