It seems that I have something in common with Patrick Swayze, beyond stunningly good looks and a charming yet commanding presence.
There's something very wrong with my pancreas, and it may be cancer. (May be, because I lost my health insurance when I lost my job, and the confirmatory tests are not really affordable, to say nothing of the treatment. Symptoms are there, and the last thing the doctors said while I could still pay them was, likely now or very soon.)
It's said that pancreatic cancer is about as scary as it gets. I find that I don't even want to write the statistics, for fear of jinxing myself. Suffice it to say that the prospects are somewhere south of grim.
If I looked only inward, I'd say that the amount of pain and discomfort are toweringly tragic, my own personal epic disaster.
However...I read. A lot. And looking out into the world, I'm finding that having to face pain and the prospect of premature death really aren't that big a deal. You look at the history of any war, any country trapped by despotism and grinding poverty, and you being to think:
"I'm one of the luckiest people around."
I have a wonderful wife and home, and a lot of delightful 'rescue' dogs whose care gives my days physical activity and spiritual meaning. I''ve got the opportunity to try to build a business doing what I love, aircraft welding and sheet-metal.
I've got a published novel, and five book signings coming up in the next month. AND two more finished novels, AND three more in process.
I can afford the pain meds that make work possible, and the cigars that keep the nausea away. (And I don't live in California, where smoking cigars is a capital offense.)
The more I write a list of the positive, the longer I can make it.
I won't say that I wanted this. But I accept it, and in this acceptance will enjoy the good things in my life. Not because I'm desperate to get every scrap of joy out of them, but because life's a choice.
And I choose life.