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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2000 4:03 am 
OK, here we go with the touchy subject of looking death in the face. Any one of us could walk across the street and get hit by a truck. Some of us face death because of some disease, but really, we all begin dying from the moment we are conceived. Something is going to get us, accident, disease or old age. One thing for sure, we all gotta go.
I would like to get your ideas on 1. What if you were told tomorrow that you had a terminal disease, you don't know how long you have left. How do you THINK you would handle that situation. (Tough because if you are not there, you really don't know). I found my mind moved in steps. I can explain that if you like. I only ask you to think about this so we can get into the second point, preparation. My first reaction was I figured I had a week maybe a month to live. I had no idea, up to that point, that I had so many loose ends. They all flooded my mind, and I made a list. Most of you are strong and healthy, I was. Maybe that truck will find you, who knows. So maybe with my "experience", I can help you "prepare". It's hard for us to think about it when we are young, strong and healthy, but dying is part of life. Don't sit around waiting for it but take care of those loose ends. It's a scary subject and I don't look for a lot of participation, but it's something that every one of us will be faced with one way or another. There is one friend who I hope gives us input, he was there and came back. In the prime of life, an accident. I had time to tie up loose ends, my friend didn't.
Bill


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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2000 6:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 875
Jeez - you guys make me feel like such a wimp for being afraid of a little paralysis... Image

So - facing that isn't death - but I figured it may as well be! I went from denial and anger and depression to finally being thankful that at least I can still walk (even with an axe hanging over my head) - even if I can't do many of the things I used to.

Since the subject is death - then I won't waste time on adapting to an injury - but I see some parallels. Faced with a terminal diagnosis your life changes - from that point forward - there is no going back - no bargaining - no if onlies. That's it. Period. Punto final. You can fight like hell, give up, search the ends of the earth for a cure - but it seems as if it will boil down to somewhere along the spectrum with denial on one side and acceptance on the other. To compare with the changes in my life since the injury - some of the stages may have been or could be similar. The first stage for me was total shock and despair. I couldn't believe it - wouldn't believe it - felt hopeless helpless and like life was irrevocably changed and ruined. The next stage was a discovery phase: why? how? what are the options? are there options? how much input do I really have? what kind of difference will any of the treatment options make in the short term and in the long run? This phase kept my mind busy but also kept me from making any decisions - a luxury a serious and progressive illness will not afford - so that's a shaky phase - but I think I would go through it again in one form or another. Then there was a bit of denial - depression (that was the hardest) and then a decision finally to fight. For a terminal illness I only hope my reactions would be similar - and that I would have the strength to pull out of the depression. One thing I've learned about myself is that faced with something like this depression seems inevitable. But at one point in time I would hope I could pull out on the other side of the darkness and decide to be thankful for what is - not waste precious remaining moments mourning what is gone or going. Does that make any sense? Tenuous and difficult to grab hold of - but there in the survivors... I hope I will be one. Kind of like the realities of self-defense - there is no way of really knowing unless you've been there - and my situtation isn't life threatening - just life altering. Your insight is much more valuable than mine... I can only hope that I would have the strength to face impending death with as much spirit,courage and good humor as I have sensed you have fought for and attained.

In learning and reading your story - it has become for me a source of strength to fight.

Part two - what would I do to prepare - THAT is a rough one. I've always been a bit fatalistic - and have been fighting a battle for the last few years to tie up loose ends. Leave things arranged for the kids - affairs in order - resolve differences - even cleaning out closets - all of that. Not an easy task and at times it seems like I'll never have them all tied up. But when faced with the thought of not being here tomorrow - it is amazing how the priorities start to shift. That's probably a priceless lesson - face your life with death in a coming moment - and see where the priorities lie...

Something none of us want to think about - part of the tragedy of lack of organ donation - to think of that we have to think of our own death - and who the hell wants to think of that? So we ignore it - then the truck comes along - and some kid may have bought 40 or 50 more years of life with our kidney or liver or eyesight for the first time or some other thing - and two lives are now wasted because we don't want to think about death - especially young and healthy - as you say.

The old "code" of bushido includes preparation for death in every moment. If we adhere at all to any of the traditions of our martial art - should we not all be paying more attention to death as a part of life - like it or not?

Thank you Sensei - for bringing this to the forefront - even those who don't post are certainly thinking about something you said in there...

And - very importantly - I want to express what an incredible honor it was to meet you at camp - seeing you in person and the chance to shake your hand was seriously the highlight of my trip - my trials are no where near as serious as yours - but the darkness has been ugly enough from my own perspective. You and your story - and the way you have written here has been for me, perhaps one of the greatest motivators I have had to pull out on the other side and keep fighting, and learning other ways to fight than simply the moves out of kata...

A heartfelt thank you - I will always consider you one of my most important teachers in life.

Peace,
Lori


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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2000 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 17, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 2813
Location: Massachusetts
Thanks to all...

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bill B.:

I would like to get your ideas on 1. What if you were told tomorrow that you had a terminal disease, you don't know how long you have left. How do you THINK you would handle that situation.

(snip)

I only ask you to think about this so we can get into the second point, preparation. My first reaction was I figured I had a week maybe a month to live. I had no idea, up to that point, that I had so many loose ends.

(snip)

So maybe with my "experience", I can help you "prepare".

...dying is part of life. Don't sit around waiting for it but take care of those loose ends.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Many things to say... where to start...

My Momma was told in 1987 that she had ~6 months. They had operated on the cancer in her throat and jaw, but then found inoperable cancer in her lungs. Changed her life... She was told that with Chemo and Radiation, she'd maybe get extended to ~15 months. Those two therapies were going to last for ~9 months, so she said forget it...

She and my Daddy spent considerable time "tying up loose ends"... Not the least of which was the fact that they were told that for tax reasons, they would be best to transfer as much as possible into my Daddy's name. They did. Daddy always felt guilty because, you see, he was a smoker since serving during the Korean war... Momma didn't smoke and got cancer, Daddy did and his x-rays and check-ups showed his lungs were just fine. Image (No doubt about the effects of second-hand smoke here...)

Daddy started smoking on the back porch... summer, winter, made no difference. Three and a half years ago, he caught viral pnuemonia and died in less than a week... no warning. My Momma was devastated. He was the one that had taken her for her check-ups... he was the one that had nursed her through every surgery for those 10 years with ~one surgery per year for her jaw and throat cancer... Everything was in his name and he got the visit from Mr. Death first. So, forget that tax advice.

A few months ago, my Momma (still rather depressed as we all are even this long after Daddy's passing) told me that she had just finished her second group. I asked what she meant. When she was first diagnosed, they put her with a support group of others with the same type of cancer. As people passed away, she took note (naturally) and when the last person that was originally there (besides her) passed away, she figured that was the end of the first group and took note of who were all the members then... A few months ago, the last of those people passed away and that was the end of the second group. Now she's afraid that there will still be loose ends when she passes. Not something to worry about, I say. Certainly you can take care of some things, but there will almost assuredly be some loose ends.

As if losing Daddy 3-1/2 years ago wasn't enough, that summer (~3 years ago) was when I ended up in the hospital... I didn't even call or tell my family (until after I pulled through) because I didn't want them to get upset unless things didn't work out. It is an entirely different and unexplainable feeling to have the nurse/doctor walk into your room and ask you to fill out a living will, sign an organ donor card, and last (but certainly the most enlightening to me on how bad things were) give you a pad of paper and a pen "to write any last messages to anyone... ummmm, just in case."

Lori-san, one of the things that was the most difficult for me... people, even friends, family and loved ones, just don't understand the depression... It's hard when you used to be able to do things and it takes time to recouperate. (Striking that deal with Death musta helped, but still... Image ) Between recoup time and depressed time, it's easy to get even more out of shape, which starts a spiral downward. Some of us are lucky enough that we decide (at some point, even if it does take a few years Image ), no matter what, to start climbing back up. Perhaps I'll never get back in shape the way I was, but just like bushido, it's all about the journey. So, I stay on the path... running no more, sometimes crawling, sometimes walking... sometimes just laying down to take a break... regardless, it's the way, my journey.

Keep the faith and...

be good to each other...


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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2000 11:25 pm 
Sometimes, Lori, the only way you know your life changes is that others tell you so.

My accident hapened when I was young and robust like you, Lori. I never accepted my losses, and I suspect you may never either. However the sooner you accept yourself for what you are, not what you once was, the easier you can rest inside and go on with life.

Before the accident, Lori, I tempted death a number of times, and it almost got me more than once. I was minding my own business, out of the way and "safe" when it happened.

When a person is young, he is full of life. There was a time that I picked out spot on a suspension bridge to roll myself off if both legs were going to remain useless and paralyzed.

Somehow, you've just got to have the strength and the balls to continue, Lori.

But to see the candle burn down and the wick get short is another battle you will again face. Once over that, and you need the mental strength you develop now, you can rest your mind again.

From a young adult, it is one slide down anyway. What matters is the speed and the slope of the slide, and how you handle it.



------------------
Allen, Home: http://www.ury2k.com/pulse mirror: http://home.ici.net/~uechi/


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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2000 5:05 am 
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
Maybe that truck will find you, who knows


Bi-ill.. Hey! Knock that off. Do you know how much it ouches to get nailed by a truck? Sometimes I think those who die immediately are the fortunate ones... Remember, this dude managed to jam the radiator right into the block of that pickup with his back. Totalled the front of that one!

Bur seriously, Bill, the talk we had kept this old dog from walking into the woods to rest for the last time -- at least for now.

Thanx.



------------------
Allen, Home: http://www.ury2k.com/pulse mirror: http://home.ici.net/~uechi/


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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2000 2:01 am 
Thanks to all for your touching stories. Sorry I have not commented sooner but have been busy of late and am still tied up. Will get back here ASAP. Take care.
Bill


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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2000 11:52 pm 
Well I am going to be tied up for awhile so am hopeing someone will pick up on this subject and continue discussion. Got some bad news from Boston, the bone scans show that the cancer has gone to the skull and upper bones in the leg. Also having trouble with the right rib cage again. Damn!! This means I can't swing a golf club and get some more of George's money. lol I still can't figure how it got through my hard head. Been called a hard head all my life. Will know more in the next 3 weeks or so. Will be feeling like dog crap with some stinky treatment. Allen M. is the friend I referred to earlier, he didn't have time to face death, it just took him and he came back. Maybe he can tell his story. It will amaze you how he has come back to where he is today. We all have to just pick up the ball and run with what we've got. After all, the alternative *****! Take care and will bounce in here as I can. Best to all!!
Bill


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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2000 12:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 29999
Bill,

As always, my prayers are with you.
You are one of the finest on this planet with much to teach us. You will always shine in the opinions of others, and your worthiness as a man has already earned you a noble niche on the eternal grounds of distinction.

You are a fighter, and I know you will prevail one way or another.


Your friend, always,



------------------
Van Canna


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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2000 12:47 am 
Well George has ordered me to get here and check in. Not much to report except I am feeling better. I am even meeting George Tuesday morning for a possible game of golf. If I can swing a club, I'll play, if not will take a cart ride and watch the boss play. Regardless, it will be good to get out there. When I go back up to Boston for more test and such, will maybe find out what the score is. They have me in a "wait and see" mode right now. Once more I have been labeled "unusual". They have never been able to gauge my cancer activity normally. Thank you for your comments, will keep you posted, especially if the golf game goes well.
Bill


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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2000 5:59 am 
Thanks Bill,

Right now, Bill, my thoughts are with you rather than my own stuff.

Absolutely all my prayers, and the prayers of a congregation in Korea are being said for you.

Just don't let George win on Tuesday.



[This message has been edited by Allen M. (edited September 04, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Face to Face 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2000 4:16 am 
Hello again. Well I did get out for our golf game AND actually played the full 18 holes. How did I play?? No comment. It was just so good to get out there and be able to play. Until we can get back into our discussion, I would like to bring up one thing. Regardless of your age, even if you are in perfect health, make sure you have a will. Even at a young age, think about your survivors. It can be a very simple will and cost little. We can discuss things like that too. I will return!
Bill


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