Living vs. just not dying

Today I plan on offering everyone a glimpse into my mental state heading into this. I have found several things out about myself as I move forward. You see there’s a constant battle that rages on inside me…and it’s freaking exhausting. My hope is that by speaking it I can provide myself some relief and give everyone else some insight into my thought processes.

First, it is easy to say I am going to beat this and do so sounding confident, but the reality is I am scared. I mean really scared about everything. Everything thus far has been quantified into percentages and the percentages sound high but I have yet to receive a 100% guarantee. There are unknowns and even slim percentages still have a chance. Uncertainty is my biggest fear. I have spent a considerable time dealing with this. What if this doesn’t work? What if I have horrible reactions to the treatment? What if the reactions are so severe that they dramatically alter my life style? I know that these are questions that will be answered in time but standing on the edge waiting to jump in is, in my experience, more horrible than the plunge. Plus, I really suck at waiting.

Second, all of this is so draining. Worrying and anxiety have taken so much out of me that it has left me wanting to hide away inside myself. I am not coping well and find myself in states of either sleeping or wanting to sleep. That is not living but rather not dying. While I appreciate not dying, I’d just as soon start living.

This brings me to my final debate: What is living? What makes a life worthwhile? What brings someone happiness? I thought I used to know the answers to these questions when in fact I do not. I know there are things I want to do before my time is up but I found that being more of a to do list before I die than living life itself. Then it occurred to me: living is a perspective.

I can choose to approach each task, no matter how arduous or mundane, as a box I must check before I move on and go on not dying or I can choose to appreciate the beauty of each task and live. I know this might sound a bit crazy, but hear me out on this. For example, I can choose to approach mowing the grass as a chore that just must be done or get fined from the city or I can choose to enjoy the fact that I am blessed enough to be outside taking care of my land, enjoying some exercise and being a part of nature. I can choose to grumble through washing dishes or I can choose to be blessed with the knowledge that in a world full of starving people, I have food in my belly and those pesky dishes must be washed to prepare myself for my next meal.

I don’t know if that made sense to anyone but myself but it helped me tremendously. Life is a series of tasks, some voluntary and some not. Living is appreciating the good of each task and the process of not dying, well that’s grumbling through them. The ability to appreciate each moment, that’s what makes a good life.

This is where I need the help. If you hear me grumbling, please use my own words against me. A gentle nudge will suffice.

Much love

–Jeff

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6 thoughts on “Living vs. just not dying

  1. Well…..Yes, of course you are worried and afraid. Who wouldn’t be? I sure would be! Unknowns are always scary, I think, for all of us. And you’re right….how you choose to proceed is a lot of the battle. Do you close your eyes and just jump into the pool, or go down the steps one toe at a time? It’s a tough decision.

    This may or may not help. My first husband became 100% disabled in the service. In boot camp, actually. He was barely 20. His prognosis was bleak, and in 1970, the “answer” was for him to go home, take a handful of meds several times a day, stay on pretty much bed rest, and wait to die. Estimate at that time was maybe 2 years at the improbable most. Okay. Not much hope for a kid of 20. What he elected to do was this: live life. We married, and on good days, he did what he felt like doing. Could mean mowing the lawn, working on the car, going to the park, and other various home chores. On bad days, his best was getting back and forth from bed to bathroom. But he lived his life HIS way. He took his meds, made his doctor visits, and did everything they told him to do EXCEPT the lay down and wait to die part. He spent quite a bit of time in the hospital during the 7 1/2 years he lived, but he did what he could do beginning the first thing every morning. I remember he would look at a healthy person his age who was squandering their life, either with drugs or some other wasteful profession, and he would say, “if only ! I could be that healthy….I would DO something with my life….not WASTE it!” In his mind, not trying was a waste. He tried, and lived over 3 times longer than he was supposed to. And he was happy – most of the time – with his life as he came to know it. It paid off.

    I guess what I’m saying here is this You do what you HAVE to do do survive, but you also have to do things you WANT to do to give your life joy and personal feeling of accomplishment. Attitude is so important, and you already know you’re a lot better off than a lot of people. We all feel self-pity at times. That’s human. But…there are things we can do to help those feelings. I think humor is very important. To keep upbeat and smiling about things is good medicine. Look around and see that others have it much worse. Surround yourself with positive people and see stupid funny movies. There’s always SOMETHING to smile about. Prayers help too. They give hope, and hope is good!

    A lot of people care and are praying for your success. Sounds to me like you are doing a pretty darn good job preparing for your journey. That’s a good start. The rest will come to you as you go along. And you have a pretty good support system in place I think with Becca, your family, extended family, friends, and of course the puppies! Lotsa love there. You got this.

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    • Barb,
      Thanks for sharing this with me as well as all the kind words and support throughout all of this. I am blessed to have all the support I have and at times forget to appreciate them. Beautiful sentiments, such as these words, are welcome reminders that instead of focusing on the storm, focus on the rainbow.

      Much appreciated,
      Jeff

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  2. Are so true. I know tho, with ur attitude, that you’re gonna beat the hell out of cancer!!! And ur in my prayers, that God give u just what u need to carry out ur every dream in life!
    P.s. my lil brother Jason says he remembers u too and he’s also praying for u! Love ya Jeff!
    Misty

    Liked by 1 person

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