This has been a recurring theme. It is fitting that it should be addressed in its very own post. What honour.

Life has changed to the point that the future has little meaning. People are always telling me that we do not know when we are going to die. This should make it easier to survive my plight. It is true that our death is pretty much out of our hands, unless we are going for the Darwin Awards. Short of that we really have no idea when the idea is coming.

What a privilege to know that your life will be shortened by whatever the number of years. Imagine my disappointment if it is not. Going through this journey and reconciling oneself to the inevitability of a shortened life only to find it will last longer than expected. How to deal with all that extra time? Won’t I live with the expectation of impending doom past a certain point?

I am not sure what the future has in hand. How long my life will be, and I do not dwell on the subject very often. The thoughts do linger though. I have learned one thing through this very short journey, everyone is different and no two conditions are the same. I hear stories all the time about people surviving beyond the expected time frame. Everyone is careful not to talk about the people who did not, of course. Not one person has said, “you have what? Oh my God, I just heard of a guy just like that, he was gone in two years!”

No one would ever say that. Not even as a joke. People are very sensitive to one’s plight and say whatever they say in order t encourage and make the condition appear to be less dire that it appears. Much appreciated. Have I told you lately about the bag that is taped to my stomach?

People mean well and comments are taken at face value. The conversations are always appreciated. Each and everyone contain glimmers of wisdom and thought provoking statements that I would not miss for the world.

One of the comments most mentioned is the one that one is now forced to live on a day to day basis. There is certainly a measure of truth in that. One of the reasons is that you have little energy to think about anything past a reasonable amount of time, say Monday when you are going for a very telling CT-Scan. But you do not tend to dwell on things too far into the future. Your condition in some ways forces you to remain very much in the present, even during the good week in between treatments.

An unclear future , either in length or any other measure you care to discuss can get very depressing. There is a distinct danger of wallowing in self pity. Yet at some point, you have to start thinking about what you are going to do with yourself. I do have some time in front of me. The chemo treatments will end at some point, and I will recover. Leaving thoughts of what to do with oneself to the last minute is too much procrastination, even for me.

Your thought and comments are appreciated.

There will be another post on this topic. It is inevitable. See, already thinking past today.

6 Responses to “Living for Today”

  1. Good morning Farokh,

    I have been thinking about you and praying for you. I just finished reading a book called "Tuesdays with Morrie". It is not a new book but new to me. My cousin was talking about it the last time we met so I thought I would read it. It is a biography in which a former student interviews his favourite college professor who he reconnects with after he learns from TV that the professor is dying . It was very insightful for me and while I read I thought of you and your blog and how brave and truthful you are in it like Morrie.

    I am glad you do not have any criticism of what your friends say and understand we care so they are brave enough to chat and not be afraid of saying the unforgiveable. As you know I am not one of the brave ones, lucky you have so many others. Maybe I will grow.

    Hugs, Sue

  2. on the large topics of being present, depression and self pity –
    I figure we each do the best we can to meet and accept what is in front of us… joy, sorrow, challenge, pain, humour, fear, pleasure, anger, shock…. some days we may be better at the task than others. we each find the ways that allow us to meet the complexities… for me, I have to feel everything. and then speak about it, or write about it. that’s how I figure out what’s going on, and find how to move with and through it.
    from my experience, depression isn’t apt to take hold and hang on when I am truthful with myself. it’s when I try to avoid where I am and what I feel, that everything is muted and dark, (i.e. depressing). grief actually isn’t so bad when it is allowed. even helplessness is ok, and sometimes a relief, if I’m not pretending otherwise.
    Farokh, I don’t think you need worry about self-pity. you’ll keep meeting your circumstances because that’s the kind of person you are. and I expect you’ll meet each day with whatever is there at the time. a dose of ‘shit, why me?’, a sweep of faith, a sprinkle of ‘what now?’, a tremor, a cry, a held fist, a joke…. certainly you are entitled to it all.
    mostly that’s what I’m trying to say… likely you’re having some of it all.
    am keeping you in my heart and prayers, and am thinking of you and the ct scan.

  3. Well there are different kinds of time and even different kinds of "today", all socially conditioned and people deal with them very differently. My wife has had a long interaction with a population of young men with Duchennes Muscular Distrophy – they are basically told as children that they will never live to be adults so how do they live now that it is commonplace for them to be well into adulthood? It seems that only some of them do well, those with a very healthy notion of 'living for today', while others live a sort of limbo, in a nasty form of 'today' time. Clearly we create our own time usually defined by rhythms of accomplishments, tasks, career advancement and other markers of ordinary life. When these things are removed we realize the arbitrariness of time and that, as in your case, you realize a new way of looking at it is required. Farokh – while much of your 'living for today' is forced upon you by the rhythms of treatment, I submit to you that you have already turned that corner in a most positive way. Evidence? Your "seeing in pictures again". Surely attending to the visual world in an artistic way, exploring the patterns of light and shadow that serendipity puts in our path, seeing the connections and resonances before us qualifies as 'living in the moment'. It nourishes and enriches us. Long winded point but there it is.

    Also – I reject the notion of 'the danger of wallowing in self pity'. I think its a bit like the whole 'battle' metaphor. What pig doesn't enjoy a good roll in the muck? Its healthy. I think a good wallow is somehow part of healing.


  4. So true, Rick and Sharon. I had breast cancer and am now as I say 6 years a "cancer dancer". I also found out about homeopathy. In this field of healing there are certain predispositions to disease called miasms. The cancer miasm person typically is the person who will do everything for everyone else, who is the super Mom or super Dad, who swallows everything, always keeps that nice smile on even if you are angry inside or you want to cry. Moral of the story , through my journey and also this new healing science and art that I have grown so fond of, I now understand that a good "wallow in the muck" or an honest "shit why me" can go a long way as cancer prevention and surely as a healer. Sometimes we become so good at being "strong and staunch" that we need something like cancer to beat the honest crap out of us, then we learn to enjoy life with all the different flavors of happy, sad, mad, funny…

  5. Hi Farokh. Haven't had the chance to tell you how wonderful your blog is…you have an amazing gift of writing so honestly and beautifully — it takes great courage to share your inner most thoughts and I've learned so much from reading these posts. This post is so true…no one knows how long we are here so it's important to make the most of our journey…how easy we lose sight of this. Know that I am always thinking of you and am constantly inspired by you.

    Just sign me , your #1 fan from Etobicoke…..big kiss and huuugggeee hug

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