[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, minor indignities edition

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.

14 thoughts on “[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, minor indignities edition

  1. Gabrielle says:

    Life will miss you, too. *hug*

  2. And we will miss you, Jay. 🙁

  3. Sarah Smith says:

    Will your voice really be stilled? Coming from your throat and fingers, yes, of course. But you’ve pulled stories from the ether and given them form and function. That’s the magic of being an author. You shape these intangible possibilities into wholeness, and you leave them here as threads for others to weave more stories from. Your voice gets woven into their life, and maybe helps them craft their own stories, leave behind their own legacy.
    I’ve always thought that the legacy of a writer isn’t just that they leave behind stories, but that in the act of creating them they weave their voice into the endless tapestry of story that is human consciousness. They don’t just give us stories, they give us their voice, and in so doing they make the tapestry of life a little stronger, a little brighter.

    I can’t imagine it’s much help to think of intangible benefits you leave behind to people you haven’t even met when you’re facing your own personal darkness. But I’ve loved your stories, and have appreciated your voice in my life, and wanted to let you know that :).

  4. MtnSk8tr says:

    It catches my breath also, Jay.

  5. Stuart Clark says:

    The more I read of your posts Jay the more I think of end of life issues – and it occurred to me that we are all terminally ill – only some of us are on shorter timetables. We should all live for the moment and enjoy the days we have as you are doing.

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