July 4, 2011

Welcome to Dying Digitally


On April 6, 2011 (by coincidence, my 58th birthday), my oncologist advised me that I had 12 to 18 months left to live.  Now, this wasn’t some kind of subatomic clock stamped into my DNA, but it was based on her experience with men in similar situations.  Shortly thereafter, I made the decision to stop any further treatment beyond what was necessary to help me manage my pain and any other symptom that pops up as my cancer slowly kills me.

Ever since I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in October of 2002, I have made it my mission to learn as much as possible about my disease so I could make informed treatment decisions.  This has served me well, however, I discovered early on that there was very little information about the emotional impact of cancer.  So I started a blog (talkingaboutcancer.com) and wrote a book (The Wolf at my Door) to share my own experiences with others facing this horrible disease.

But now that I am past all of that, I am much more interested in what happens next.  And guess what?  There’s not much information out there on what happens between the time someone discontinues treatment and when they die.  So I decided to wind down talkingaboutcancer.com and create this new blog through which I can share my personal experiences – physical, psychological and emotional – right up to the moment of my death.  It is my sincere hope that this will leave a valuable legacy of information on what to expect for others who find themselves in my situation.  I also intend to supplement my frequent updates with musings, theories and questions about life, death and even what might come after.  These are, after all, the things that occupy our minds when we are lucky enough to have the time to do so.  After I am dead, perhaps I will arrange to have someone collect these writings and make them available in book or other formats.

In closing, I trust that you will quickly get past the initial feeling that this guy is pretty morbid, or depressed as hell, and try to get something out of what I experience and what I write.  Death, after all, is something that happens to us all and, frankly, I am already finding it a fascinating subject!

So welcome to my world and join me on my journey.  I hope it’s a lot longer than my doctor thinks.  If so, I will have quite a bit to write about!

22 comments:

Meghan said...

Thank you for sharing the raw and honest account of your life. I love you Doug. We all love you!

Russ said...

Thank you for taking us on this journey, unconventional and difficult as it may be. I have always found you to be an excellent "guide" in talkingaboutcancer.com and in your thoughtful and unique book, The Wolf at my Door, and can't think of anyone I would rather have to guide us through this difficult, yet fascinating subject.

Sue Ann said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. I had tried to find your book, but have not been able to. I am sure that we will all learn so much from your journey. Love to you and your family
.

Sean said...

Dad you are a constant reminder of strength and bravery your my hero and always will be i can only hope that one day i will be a quarter of the man you are...your my best friend dad and i love you so much thank you for everything you have done you have helped so many people...you sir are a modern day saint...so many people in your position would just give up and wait...not you you took it upon yourself to fight and help and research....and write!!! you have prvien the pen (or keyboard) is mighter then the sword ilove you dad

Doug said...

Sue Ann. My book is available on-line at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Chapters. You likely won't find it in the stores, but can order it from their on-line sites. Thanks for your comment!

Foodie Patootie said...

Our mutual friend, Lori Hope, mentioned your blog in her blog today and I decided I wanted to read more. I have the kind of MS that continues to progress no matter what I do or don't do. I know that I want to die with dignity, to have some sort of control over the end, whenever I decide that might be. I have loads of time left if I so choose. And like you, I sometimes think about having a "good death." I'll comment again from time to time. Your blog will be motivating me to think constructively about the time I have left, and to act more purposefully as well... and that's a good and valuable thing.
Best to you, Heidi

Robyn said...

Doug, as one who in my other work has been invited on several occasions to visit & speak with the dying, I know only too well that while reticence seems to rule there all too often, it's the one time in one's life when we most need to talk! Thank you for modeling that to us. This is brilliant, insightful, & ultimately courageous. We are all dying; just some faster & with greater awareness than others. You have the dubious distinction of falling in the latter group. I honour you for that.

I notice people are increasingly realizing that the only way to beat certain kinds of suffering is to turn it around by using it for some greater good. You're doing it to the end,'still willing to fight for such a fine end.

For what it's worth, I have twice been in a state of great concern over loved-ones dying in pain & discomfort. Each time, when I went to sleep that night I dreamed about their passings. In both cases, I was given to experience what they had experienced as they died.

It was a washing-in of the most unutterable peace, calm, and warmth; it was like slipping into a warm bath of all the most lovely physical and emotional feelings we know, all at once. All worry & care ceased in an overwhelming sense that all would be taken care of. All pain & suffering was gone. Something beautiful was happening instead. Though in one case I'd worried about choked breathing, on the other side of what I'd witnessed, I dreamt that that person was in fact not feeling their body choking, but was moving smoothly & kindly into this beautiful state I describe.

For myself, I trust completely what the dreams consistently showed me - especially since the dreams were a year apart, and I'd forgotten the first one when I had the second! It's as if the benign forces of the universe, and perhaps even my loved-ones themselves, wanted me to know what it was REALLY like to 'die'.

Often, the dying people I've visited have told me (though I had to ask first - to open that type of dialogue; I think this is why I was invited: I was known not to fear opening the talk) that they begin to experience or to dream, contact with loved ones they've missed and whom they'll be joining. They've been very happy telling me about this and anticipating reunions. Other times, they wake from naps with the same sense I had, of having been somewhere lovely & peaceful - as if during those naps they were 'practicing' being dead.

All I can say is that as for slow months of physical terminal illness, it sucks hugely. Once one is actually at the end, it seems to be nearly the exact opposite. In fact I became so convinced I began to imagine with pleasure all the missing loved-ones I look forward to seeing - including beloved places that've been bulldozed!

I hope this is a comfort to you & yours in some way, and so I offer it.... Along with my favourite poem from Robert Louis Stevenson -

He is not dead, this friend, not dead
But in this path we mortals tread
Got some few trifling steps ahead
And nearer to the end;
So that you too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face
This friend you fancy dead.

Press ever on, dear heart! - the while
You travel forward, mile by mile
He lingers with a backward smile,
Till you can overtake;
And whistling, as he spies you through the brake,
Waits on a stile.


Blessings to you & this journey, Doug. Robyn

Laura Shook said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. I know it will be an amazing resource for those who follow in your footsteps.
You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Laura Shook
www.laurashook.com

Laura Shook said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. I know it will be an amazing resource for those who follow in your footsteps.
You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Laura Shook
www.laurashook.com

Lin Shijun said...

shijun 7.6
longchamp handbags
michael kors
coach outlet store online
michael kors outlet online
michael kors outlet
coach outlet store online
oakley outlet
jordan retro 5
fitflops
abercrombie
toms shoes outlet
fitflops
fitflops outlet
ralph lauren outlet online
louis vuitton handbags
abercrombie store new york
louis vuitton outlet
ray ban glasses
louis vuitton
ray ban sunglasses
ralph lauren uk
gucci
hollister co
abercrombie outlet
hollister outlet
christian louboutin shoes
burberry sale
dior outlet store
air max 2015
michael kors outlet
longchamp
polo ralph lauren
oakley outlet
coco chanel
kate spade outlet
juicy couture handbags
cheap ray ban sunglasses
michael kors outlet
ray ban wayfarer
replica watches

chenlina said...

chenlina20150831
jordan 3 retro
jordan pas cher femme
michael kors outlet
coach outlet store online
christian louboutin sale
ghd hair straightener
nike huarache
retro 11
louis vuitton
ray ban uk
michael kors outlet
abercrombie & fitch
nike air force 1
fitflops sale
adidas uk
kids lebron shoes
louis vuitton
adidas superstar
michael kors bags
toms outlet
adidas running shoes
abercrombie & fitch
oakley sunglasses
hermes bags
barbour jackets
nike running shoes for men
michael kors outlet
toms wedges
coach outlet
ralph lauren polo shirts
michael kors handbags
lebron shoes
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet online
christian louboutin sale
michael kors handbags
coach outlet
instyler
ray ban glasses
gucci bags

mao qiuyun said...

stuart weitzman boots, http://www.stuartweitzmanoutlet.us/
ray ban sunglasses, http://www.raybansunglassesonline.in.net/
black friday deals, http://www.barbourjacketsuk.co.uk/
louis vuitton handbags, http://www.louisvuittonhandbags.org.uk/
nike trainers, http://www.niketrainers.me.uk/
oakley outlet, http://www.oakleyoutlet.in.net/
lululemon outlet, http://www.lululemonoutletstore.in.net/
roshe run, http://www.rosherunshoessale.com/
soccer jerseys, http://www.soccerjerseys.us.com/
cheap mlb jerseys, http://www.cheapmlbjerseys.net/
replica handbags, http://www.replicahandbag.us.com/
north face jackets, http://www.thenorthfaces.in.net/
louis vuitton outlet, http://www.louisvuittonoutletstore.name/
hermes birkin, http://www.hermesbirkin.org/
kobe bryant shoes, http://www.kobebryantshoes.in.net/
replica watches, http://www.replicawatchesforsale.us.com/
hollister uk, http://www.hollistershirts.co.uk/
ray ban, http://www.occhiali-rayban.it/
prada handbags, http://www.pradahandbagsoutlet.co.uk/
the north face clearance, http://www.thenorthfaceclearances.us.com/
cheap nba jerseys, http://www.nbajerseys.net/
ray ban sunglasses, http://www.ray-bansunglasses.eu.com/
tory burch outlet, http://www.toryburch.in.net/
beats headphones, http://www.beats-headphones.in.net/
air max 2014, http://www.airmax2014.net/
cheap nfl jerseys, http://www.cheapnfljerseys.org/
montblanc pens, http://www.montblanc-pens.com.co/
michael kors outlet store, http://www.michaelkorsoutlet-store.us.com/
1010maoqiuyun

mao qiuyun said...

stuart weitzman boots, http://www.stuartweitzmanoutlet.us/
ray ban sunglasses, http://www.raybansunglassesonline.in.net/
black friday deals, http://www.barbourjacketsuk.co.uk/
louis vuitton handbags, http://www.louisvuittonhandbags.org.uk/
nike trainers, http://www.niketrainers.me.uk/
oakley outlet, http://www.oakleyoutlet.in.net/
lululemon outlet, http://www.lululemonoutletstore.in.net/
roshe run, http://www.rosherunshoessale.com/
soccer jerseys, http://www.soccerjerseys.us.com/
cheap mlb jerseys, http://www.cheapmlbjerseys.net/
replica handbags, http://www.replicahandbag.us.com/
north face jackets, http://www.thenorthfaces.in.net/
louis vuitton outlet, http://www.louisvuittonoutletstore.name/
hermes birkin, http://www.hermesbirkin.org/
kobe bryant shoes, http://www.kobebryantshoes.in.net/
replica watches, http://www.replicawatchesforsale.us.com/
hollister uk, http://www.hollistershirts.co.uk/
ray ban, http://www.occhiali-rayban.it/
prada handbags, http://www.pradahandbagsoutlet.co.uk/
the north face clearance, http://www.thenorthfaceclearances.us.com/
cheap nba jerseys, http://www.nbajerseys.net/
ray ban sunglasses, http://www.ray-bansunglasses.eu.com/
tory burch outlet, http://www.toryburch.in.net/
beats headphones, http://www.beats-headphones.in.net/
air max 2014, http://www.airmax2014.net/
cheap nfl jerseys, http://www.cheapnfljerseys.org/
montblanc pens, http://www.montblanc-pens.com.co/
michael kors outlet store, http://www.michaelkorsoutlet-store.us.com/
1010maoqiuyun

chenlina said...

chenlina20151128
ugg clearance
soccer shoes
louis vuitton
coach outlet store online
louis vuitton
cheap ugg boots
michael kors outlet online
coach outlet
coach outlet store online
michaek kors outlet online
cheap ugg boots
kate spade handbags
canada goose jackets
tory burch sale
mont blanc pens
michael kors outlet
adidas superstars
uggs outlet
ralph lauren outlet
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton handbags
uggs sale
kids lebron shoes
louis vuitton handbags
ray ban sunglasses outlet
nike air max
coach factory outlet
canada goose outlet
fitflops sale clearance
hollister co
ray ban outlet store
cheap air max
abercrombie fitch
uggs boots
coach factory outlet online
cheap uggs
michael kors handbags
true religion jeans outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
chanel handbags
as

Zhenhong Bao said...

michael kors outlet
longchamp handbags
true religion jeans
nba jerseys
mulberry outlet
air max 2015
michael kors wholesale
prada sneakers
cheap oakley sunglasses
swarovski outlet
timberland shoes
louis vuitton outlet
adidas wings shoes
herve leger outlet
nike air force 1
ralph lauren polo
adidas wings
louis vuitton handbags outlet
air jordan shoes for sale
louis vuitton outlet online
michael kors outlet
swarovski crystal
pandora outlet
true religion jeans
louis vuitton handbags
ray-ban sunglasses
jordan shoes 2015
michael kors handbags
michael kors handbags
michael kors factory outlet
basketball shoes
michael kors handbags
mulberry uk
michael kors clearance
kobe shoes
20160301baozhenhong

John said...

pandora jewelry
christian louboutin outlet
coach outlet
coach outlet store online
michael kors outlet online
kate spade handbags
nfl jerseys wholesale
polo ralph lauren
michael kors outlet
coach outlet
louis vuitton outlet
cheap jordan shoes
giuseppe zanotti sneakers
ray ban sunglasses
fitflops
oakley sunglasses wholesale
oakley sunglasses wholesale
true religion jeans
air max 95
coach factorty outlet
ray ban outlet
prada handbags
toms shoes
longchamp outlet
nike air huarache
rolex submariner
air jordans
tory burch sale
the north face jackets
ugg boots
jordans for sale
lebron james shoes 13
ugg slippers
2016323yuanyuan

mmjiaxin said...

oakley sunglasses
michael kors handbags outlet
replica christian louboutin
coach outlet online
Michael Kors Outlet Store
http://www.cheap--jordans.us.com
http://www.jordansforcheap.us.com
michael kors factory outlet
http://www.michaelkorshandbagsclearance.com.co
chrome hearts
http://www.oakleyoutlet-store.com
michael kors outlet online
tiffany and co jewellery
http://www.cheap-airjordans.us.com
nike kobe sneakers
michael kors handbags
http://www.raybanglasses.in.net
chrome hearts online store

cheap jordans
gg

Gege Dai said...

rolex outlet
pandora jewelry
michael kors outlet
hermes outlet
true religion jeans
adidas outlet store
polo ralph lauren
hollister clothing
michael kors outlet online
polo ralph lauren
christian louboutin outlet
nike air huarache
toms outlet
ray ban sunglasses
burberry outlet store
pandora jewelry
police sunglasses
beats by dre
mont blanc pens
burberry outlet store
longchamp outlet
oakley sunglasses wholesale
ralph lauren pas cher
swarovski outlet
cheap nba jerseys
christian louboutin uk
michael kors handbags wholesale
michael kors outlet
longchamp outlet
michael kors uk
ray-ban sunglasses
fitflops clearance
tiffany and co
true religion jeans
lebron shoes
chanyuan0610

chenlina said...

chenlina20160614
kate spade outlet
michael kors handbags
adidas nmd
kobe 9
nike outlet store
nike air max 90
longchamp bags
coach outlet
asics outlet
louis vuitton
abercrombie outlet
ray ban sunglasses
coach factory outlet
ralph lauren outlet
true religion jeans
coach factory outlet
oakley sunglasses
louboutin
jordan 3
lebron shoes
michael kors handbags
lebron 13
designer handbags
louis vuitton outlet
louis vuitton outlet stores
ray ban sunglasses
jeremy scott shoes
celine bags
coach factory outlet
coach outlet
jordan 4
nike basketball shoes
coach outlet store online
adidas shoes
adidas running shoes
louis vuitton handbags
kate spade handbags
kate spade handbags
jordan 6
kobe 9
as

Zheng junxai5 said...

zhengjx20160817
vans sneakers
nike trainers uk
pandora jewelry
cheap oakley sunglasses
nfl jerseys
cheap pandora jewelry
ray bans
coach factory outlet
timberland boots
louis vuitton purses
cincinnati bengals jerseys
louis vuitton handbags
kate spade outlet
abercrombie & fitch
toms shoes outlet
golden state warriors jerseys
coach outlet
canada goose pas cher
tods sale
louis vuitton
uggs outlet
lebron 13 shoes
air max 95
louis vuitton purses
longchamp bags
mont blanc pen
michael kors outlet online
cheap ray ban sunglasses
coach outlet store online clearances
retro jordans 13
michael kors handbags
coach factory outlet online
jordan retro 8
coach outlet store
adidas nmd
toms outlet
kate spade outlet
canada goose jackets
nike air max uk
gucci belts

Fangyaya said...

roshe run
nike roshe run flyknit
canada goose
air jordans
michael kors outlet
toms outlet
coach canada
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton paris
ray ban wayfarer
ralph lauren outlet
polo ralph lauren
kobe 9
louis vuitton outlet
ugg sale
hollister shirts
kate spade handbags
canada goose outlet
dallas mavericks jerseys
nike factory outlet
true religion sale
ugg outlet
louis vuitton
tiffany outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
true religion jeans sale
true religion outlet
adidas yeezy
ugg boots paris
chenyingying2016830

Zheng junxai5 said...

zhengjx 20170313
jordan shoes
air max 2016
kobe basketball shoes
links of london
michael kors outlet online
yeezy boost
michael kors factory outlet
nike polo shirts
adidas ultra boost
links of london outlet store