Day by Day

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Life has a 100% mortality rate

I just found out that one of the guys in my department has terminal cancer. The doctors are giving him a year to live. This is his fourth go-round with melanoma, and this time it's not going away. They've stopped all treatments, because none of the tumors are going away, and new ones are popping up. As of right now, it's terminal.

He's got a year. One short year.

How do you cram a lifetime of dreams into one year?

I can't imagine what this poor guy is going through. He's got children, a happy family, dreams, desires, hopes and fears. And now he practically knows the time of his death. How do you reconcile yourself to that? How do you do everything that you've wanted to do while some fucking disease is eating you from the inside out? He was getting close to retirement, and so was his wife. They were supposed to live to a ripe old age together, and that's not going to happen now. His life, for all intents and purposes, is all over except for the breathing.

I wonder how many plans he had that are now never going to happen. I wonder how many dreams he had that will now go unfulfilled.

When my mom had cancer, they were able to remove it. Surgery can do marvels, but he's had surgery three times and it keeps coming back. He's had chemo three times, and yet here it is, staring him in the face. He's going to die within a year. God damn it, this isn't supposed to happen to the nice guys! The good guys are supposed to ride off into the sunset to destinations unknown, living out the rest of their lives in peace, not writing out their will and testament while their family cries in the fucking hallway!

The worst part is that we know how it's going to end. This isn't going to be some peaceful passing away while he sleeps, or a sudden death that passes quickly. He's going to be in excruciating pain while this shit eats him alive. He's going to be on all the drugs that modern medicine can give him and it still won't be enough. He's staring at living hell, and he's keeping a straight face. I don't know how he does it. I really don't.

He's a better, stronger man than I am, and if you believe in god, say a prayer for Big Jim. He and his family are going through hell right now.

God give you strength, Jim.

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