Friday, August 25, 2006

Could Cancer Make Me a Better Person?

I think sometimes I should REMIND myself that I could die of cancer any day. It would change my behavior for the better. I lost my temper with Josie today. I just couldn’t get her to do anything I asked. She wouldn’t get out of her pyjamas, get dressed, eat her breakfast, get ready for school. This has been going on for weeks now. I got so impatient and frustrated with her, I yelled at her and put her in her room.

Later, it occurred to me that if I knew I only had days or weeks of life left, I wouldn’t care that she didn’t finish her breakfast or was late for school. In fact, I’d probably keep her home from school so I could spend all my time with her. So should I be doing that, I wonder? Probably not. I’ll be around long enough that she can still have a normal life, but what if we get to the point when I know I won’t last much longer? Do I then disrupt her life so that I can spend more time with her?

Anyway, if I remind myself that I have limited time with her, I’d have more patience and appreciate even the frustrating things about her. That applies to many other things in my daily life. I get angry about petty things that a dying person shouldn’t give a damn about -- bad drivers, shoddy goods, rude and selfish people, unreasonable rules.

Maybe the problem is that I don’t have any symptoms. Because I don’t feel or look sick, I forget that I could die of cancer very soon. So I forget to appreciate every moment, stop to smell the roses, and all the other cliched things that people who have come close to death say they’ve learned -- a renewed appreciation for life. I don’t have it. I think I appreciated life plenty before I got cancer. But maybe it would help me to think that I could die very soon -- but in a positive way, to make me more mellow, patient, and easy-going. So that I don’t care so much about petty little daily life things.

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