How many times have I heard that I could get run over by a bus any time or other such platitudes about how none of us know when our number is up when I talk about my life shortening diagnosis. I know it is partly because people don’t know what to say and yes it is true there is a very remote chance I could get run over by a bus…………..
About 2 in 1000000000 to be precise
I think it is far far more likely that I will die of a Myeloma related cause, in fact I would gamble my life on it!
I love this video, I don’t know why it makes me laugh so much, Jesus is being so positive and upbeat singing I will survive and then what happens…I won’t spoil the ending!
I know of 5 people between the age of 35 and 60 with Myeloma who have died recently. Three through the online myeloma community and two others in the public eye, Felix Dexter who was on the comedy show, The Real McCoy a while back and a biochemist, Professor Michael Neuberger who ironically was involved in life saving work on the immune system.
Over time I have become less affected by hearing of deaths of people I know of caused by Myeloma than I used to be. In an oldish post In a Clod I expressed how I felt about the death of “Outdoor Paul”. Such untimely deaths always serve to remind me that this is likely to be my fate too at some point sooner than most people of my age and whilst some will say in an attempt to blunt this fact that any of us could get run over by a bus any time, I find that cliche very annoying. I know it is meant to convey the point that although death is a certainty none of us know when it is going to happen or how but saying that takes away from the most profound effect that the knowledge of my likely early death has on my life. It degrades my experience.
Having a life shortening illness is something I have to deal with but for those don’t have their awareness of their demise in quite as much focus as I do, it is hard to talk about. I nearly got caught out myself when I was having lunch with a myeloma mate recently and he referred to an event that would happen when he was 58 (6 years time) and then remarked that he would probably be dead by then so he wouldn’t see it happen. I was initially shocked and the words “oh you won’t be” were nearly out of my mouth before I shut it and changed it to something like I hope you won’t be.
And I hope I won’t be too but I’ve had to adjust and accept that this might be the case. In some ways there is a liberating element to having a life shortening illness. For example, I have
– cancelled payments into the pathetic personal pension I had
– ceased caring about how I am going to support myself financially in old age
– stopped fearing death and that I might be extremely old, out of my mind, lonely and a burden on others
– stopped shelving plans and dreams of what I am going to do when I retire, and am DOING THEM NOW, as far as possible.
Oh yes, I am living the dream (said with more than a touch of irony and a little bitterness if I am honest)!
I am pretty sure of what I am going to die of and roughly how long I have got but for those that don’t, here is another classic song from the old maestro Leonard Cohen to give you some food for thought. This post is really just an excuse to play another song by him. I am a just a little obsessed at the moment!
Who in the sunshine, who in the night time,
Who by high ordeal, who by common trial,
Who in your merry merry month of may,
Who by very slow decay,
And who shall I say is calling?And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate,
Who in these realms of love, who by something blunt,
And who by avalanche, who by powder,
Who for his greed, who for his hunger,
And who shall I say is calling?And who by brave assent, who by accident,
Who in solitude, who in this mirror,
Who by his lady’s command, who by his own hand,
Who in mortal chains, who in power,
And who shall I say is calling?