A while ago I got past the idea that with my cancer diagnosis I could not plan more than a month into the future. Today, with my first regimen of chemo behind me, coupled with my monthly x-geva injections, I am feeling better than I have in a couple of years. I am able to commit to early morning events because I now wake up by 6:00 AM as opposed to dragging myself out of bed at 8:00 AM. Two months ago, riding my bike 2 miles was exhausting, but now 10 miles is not a problem.
I picked up a book recently called How To Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations by Marc Freedman. The book is not about the taking health supplements, or freezing your body in liquid nitrogen for a future thawing. Rather, and in a similar way to the Parker Palmer’s On The Brink, Freedman deals with the relationship of older and younger generations to the benefit of both.
The relationship discussed in the book considers a subject in which I have considerable interest – mentoring. I have written about this elsewhere. Freedman got me thinking about this subject anew. In the past year, I intentionally pulled back from professional responsibilities in academia including formal teaching. However, I continue to have a keen interest in mentoring and the reciprocal benefits to all engaged in that process. That is where the Freedman book hit me.
I considered several mentorship projects in the past year but was reluctant to begin the long-term process to bring them to fruition. A good bit of my reluctance was not knowing my ability and longevity beyond the next chemo round. I am comfortable making plans that extend into the spring, but was hesitant to think much beyond that, as I blogged about with my gardens.
But applying Freedman book process very much aligns with my experience in cancer recovery. As good as chemo and x-geva might be, I know too that the attitude and actions in my mental and spiritual lives are as integral to my cancer treatment as the medicines. My oncologist will not offer a prognosis today because I have consistently proven his past estimates wrong.
So, into the New Year I am taking the attitude that I will live forever and I am going to fully engage with some of my half-formed projects I have been hesitant to commit to fully. I still understand that 30-days from now the cancerous tumors and bone lesions might be back in full force or that I could be hit by a car, struck by lightening or die from any number of incidents. I have lived under the “being dead in 3-6 month” prognosis for past two years. I am now ready to live forever!