January 15, 2012

Wrestling with time.

Time. It's something I think a lot about now. You might think my focus would be on how much I have left, and that's true to an extent, but it's more complex than that. Time is a complex thing. Physicists are only now beginning to realize just how complex it really is in the quantum world. And while I guess we live in a universe guided by quantum mechanics, it is our perception of time that is most important.

I can almost see time, not as a I might see a clock, but more as a river or stream. I can look back at all that I have done, all that I've seen, all that I've experienced. And I can look forward at a seemingly infinite multitude of what may be. Only in my case, there's a stop sign or a steep drop-off somewhere up ahead. So I see a number of possibilities to fill my time remaining (things I can do) and a number of hazy things that I could potentially experience (over which I may have no control).

I do spend a fair bit of time looking backwards. I think this is a normal part of the "eyes-open" dying experience. Assessing the quality of my time on earth; weighing that against what or how I could contribute (make a difference) in the time remaining. But some of it is voyeuristic in a nice sort of way - looking back on good memories; remembering special times; thinking about what I would have done different if I'd only known; assessing whether I've lived a good life; and feeling regret for things I didn't do or didn't do right. Many people who have supposedly died and come back describe a period of reflection on their lives. I guess I'm just getting a head start on that.

But I probably spend more effort looking forward, because that is where my freight train sits, idling on the track, waiting to chug head long into me. It is also the open book upon which I can write my legacy or finally define (or perhaps refine is a better word) who I am or at least who I want to be remembered as. You can play this any way you want to. Some people choose to just ignore it (denial) and live their lives as normal as they can, accounting for any phsyical or mental limitations that their disease may bring upon them. So Joe the funny guy who maybe drinks a bit too much is still funny (maybe with a few more morbid jokes thrown in) and perhaps drings a bit too, too much, for which no one blames him. I would never deign to give an opinion on the efficacy or "wastefulness" of this approach one way or another. Others (hopefully few) just fall apart and do waste their remaining time. I believe this choice is a waste because I feel strongly that all of us should use our remaining time to better ourselves (in a spiritual sense) and help make this world a better place (as opposed to all the alternate universes supposedly out there).

I don't know exactly how much time I have. I know what my doctor told me but I know that they are not accurate because we are all different. But I read somewhere that, on average, these estimates tend to be too optimistic, so that's not good. Right now, I go by how I feel. My body is deteriorating at a noticeable rate and, while I can't extrapolate a specific time frame, I feel comfortable saying that I will make my daughter's wedding, but there's about a 50/50 chance of making the next new year's eve. Not very scientific but something real and something I feel comfortable amending depending on how I feel from week to week.

So time gives me a sense of urgency. Urgency to get things done. I have plans to execute to ensure that my affairs are neat and tidy, my family is well looked after, that they have friends to provide them support and help with the tough decisions ahead. I want to make those decisions easy and I want to leave things behind - things that are part of my legacy and things that are personal for my family. Lots to do. So little time.

But if I really think about time and what it has meant to me over the nine plus years since I was diagnosed, I see a lot of additional dimensions.

There is the time I have spent at the hospital and in doctor's offices, mostly waiting, but also talking, having treatments, following up. The time I missed from work while I was doing these things. More specifically, the time I spent in operating rooms and recovering from surgery, in particle accelerators having radiations treatments, in Chemo Daycare having poison pumped into me. Time spent in countless X-ray, CT Scan and MRI machines. The happy times that were overshadowed by the sad times. The time I missed doing other things, better things. The time I will miss with my wife and family when I'm gone. The time I will miss with friends, talking about happy, inconsequential things - relaxing. The time I spend outside on the water, soaking up the sun and the warmth. I could go on and on (until I run out of time!)

And lets look at time as a measurement. I've lived a long time (58 years). I have a short time to live (?). There's not enough time in the day to do what I want to do. I spend too much time sleeping, although that can't be helped. I love to spend as much of my waking time as I can with Dianne, my soul mate, the part of me that I will be leaving behind. I cherish every moment I have known her. I haven't spent enough quality time with my daughter Caralia, of whom I am so proud. I need to spend more time with her. The time I've missed with my son and the time he's missed being with his father. The time I spent with him when he was little to get him the help he needed to make it through the school system (which he did and which I am very proud of him for doing)and learning to look after himself. I hate spending too much time between blog posts. I have too much to say. I hate spending so much time in bed, although I have to. The summer isn't long enough and the winter is too long. I don't want to die so soon, but I will.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, in "Walden", one of my favorite quotes:

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. It's thin current slides away, but eternity remains.

16 comments:

Colleen Young said...

Hi Doug,
I just wanted to write a quick note to let you know that I read all of your posts. While death isn't so overtly nipping at my heels (yet), I think it is a topic that should not be shoved in the corner as it often is. I'm very grateful that you are sharing your thoughts, feelings, fears, challenges and joys so openly.
Thank you!!
Colleen

Lori Hope said...

As always, thank you for your wise, beautiful, refreshingly honest reflections. And thank you for sharing that quotation. It's one that is so important I am going to try to memorize it.
Big hug to you-
Lor

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug, thanks for sharing your story. It takes a lot to be open with your thoughts at this time in your life.
I helped a young lady resolve her worries about her daughters by writing letters for them to be read after she passed. It gave her peace and I could see this in her eyes when I last said goodbye to her. I hope you can stay at home as long as possible and that you do have an option with a hospice if you need one. Bless you and I believe you will be a great angel on the other side! XO

Anonymous said...

I rarely comment, however after looking at through a ton of
remarks on this page "Wrestling with time.".
I actually do have a few questions for you if you don't mind.
Is it just me or does it give the impression like some of the responses appear like they are written by brain dead visitors?
:-P And, if you are posting on additional places, I'd
like to follow everything new you have to post.
Would you post a list of the complete urls of your social pages like your
twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

My web page; accidents in columbus ohio

Anonymous said...

Even though, it really is familiar as a very safe plant,
it's side effects and quite a few users are
allergic to it. It is cooling, soothing and moisturising, and it stimulates the growth of new cells and skin tissue with natural steroids, enzymes and amino acids.
There will also be many non-prescription medicines
which might be effective in treating thrush.

My website - aloe vera juice

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
air max uk
cheap uggs
cheap ray ban sunglasses
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet online
ugg boots
ugg sale
coach outlet
ugg boots
fake oakley sunglasses
coach outlet store online
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet
nike trainers uk
official coach factory outlet
canada goose outlet online
the north face uk
ray ban sunglasses outlet
toms shoes
coach outlet store
abercrombie & fitch
pandora outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
louis vuitton outlet
abercrombie and fitch
instyler max
coach outlet
oakley sunglasses
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet
christian louboutin outlet
air max 95
cheap nfl jerseys
air max 90
nike huarache
marc jacobs handbags
canada goose outlet
michael kors handbags
coach factory outlet
as

mmjiaxin said...

cheap real jordans
michael kors handbags
true religion jeans wholesale
michael kors outlet online store
cheap true religion jeans
cheap nfl jerseys
michael kors factory outlet
ugg boots uk
tiffany and co outlet online
toms outlet store
fitflops outlet
michael kors outlets
michael kors outlet store
kobe sneakers
oakley store online
jordans for cheap
kobe basketball shoes
ray ban sunglasses
nfl jerseys
michael kors outlet
gg

xumeiqing said...

20160517 chenxin
toms shoes
instyler max
michael kors watches
coach outlet store online
kate spade outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
cheap nba jerseys
ray ban outlet
michael kors bags
louboutin pas cher
ugg boots
designer bags
oakley sunglasses
true religion
toms outlet
oakley sunglasses
ray bans
ghd flat iron
nike cortez
adidas shoes uk
ray-ban sunglasses
jimmy choo shoes
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton handbags
ed hardy outlet
michael kors bags
hollister sale
pandora jewelry
michael kors outlet
ralph lauren pas cher
adidas nmd
oakley sunglasses,oakley sunglass,cheap oakley sunglasses,oakley sunglasses cheap,oakley sunglasses outlet,oakley store,oakley outlet,oakley outlet store,oakley sunglasses sale,oakley sunglasses discount
louis vuitton outlet online
ralph lauren outlet
cartier love bracelet
adidas pure boost
ray ban sunglass,ray ban sunglasses,ray ban outlet,cheap ray bans,cheap ray ban sunglasses,cheap ray bans,ray bans

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
toms wedges
ray ban sunglasses
louis vuitton
polo ralph lauren
kobe bryant shoes
louis vuitton purses
hollister clothing
mont blanc pens
rolex submariner
longchamp outlet
coach outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
nike free runs
jordan 13
coach factory outlet
oakley sunglasses
kobe 10
nike sb
hollister uk
louboutin pas cher
mont blanc fountain pens
coach outlet store online clearances
air jordans
coach outlet
michael kors handbags
tory burch handbags
michael kors outlet
supra sneakers
louis vuitton outlet
christian louboutin outlet
louis vuitton outlet
nike air max 90
giuseppe zanotti
tory burch outlet online
celine handbags
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton outlet
kate spade handbags
nike air max 90
asics shoes
as

Yuanyuan Lin said...

7.09lllllyuan"oakley sunglasses wholesale"
"louis vuitton handbags outlet"
"ray-ban sunglasses"
"michael kors wallet"
"ray ban sunglasses"
"oakley sunglasses wholesale"
"longchamp handbags"
"juicy couture tracksuit"
"prada sunglasses for women"
"swarovski outlet"
"ralph lauren polo"
"longchamp outlet online"
"links of london"
"cartier watches"
"nike roshe run"
"asics"
"ferragamo outlet"
"cheap ray ban sunglasses"
"polo ralph lauren"
"michael kors outlet"
"nike tn pas cher"
"ray ban sunglasses"
"tiffany and co"
"tory burch outlet online"
"michael kors outlet"
"mulberry outlet"
"tiffany jewellery"
"tory burch outlet"
"babyliss pro"
"police sunglasses for men"
"prada outlet online"
"soccer jerseys"
"michael kors clearance"
"mcm outlet"
"true religion jeans outlet"
7.09

Qinan Chen said...

pandora charms
ray ban outlet
ray bans
oakley sunglasses
pandora outlet
uggs outlet
the north face
michael kors outlet clearance
ferragamo shoes
adidas gazelle
michael kors outlet online
cheap jordans
louis vuitton borse
pandora outlet
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors watches
oakley sunglasses
ralph lauren outlet online
louis vuitton outlet online
asics shoes
ugg boots outlet
longchamp handbag
nike air max
abercrombie and fitch
red bottom shoes
uggs outlet
cheap jordans
air max 90
pandora jewelry
canada goose outlet online
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton bags
michael kors outlet
hollister co
coach outlet
zhenwei20160726

Zheng junxai5 said...

zhengjx20160817
ugg boots
ugg on sale
kobe 8 shoes
cheap toms
louis vuitton handbags
north face jackets
canada goose
cheap basketball shoes
air jordan femme
uggs outlet
oklahoma city thunder jerseys
abercrombie outlet
coach factory outlet online
michael kors outlet
coach outlet
louis vuitton purses
timberland boots
louis vuitton outlet stores
canada goose uk
new england patriots jerseys
toms wedges
oakley sunglasses
kobe 10
basketball shoes
replica watches
ray ban pas cher
replica rolex watches
michael kors handbags
coach outlet
coach outlet online
nike roshe one
asics shoes for men
cheap rolex watches
christian louboutin outlet
louis vuitton handbags
oakley sunglasses outlet
longchamp outlet
rolex watches outlet
ralph lauren outlet
ralph lauren

xumeiqing said...

20170221meiqing
oakley sunglasses outlet
toms outlet
polo ralph lauren outlet online
gucci outlet
christian louboutin outlet
ralph lauren outlet online
hermes handbags
ugg boots
gucci purses
christian louboutin shoes

Zheng junxai5 said...

zhengjx 20170313
Kanye West shoes
michael kors outlet store
adidas stan smith
lacoste outlet
air force 1
timberland outlet
nike huaraches
hermes belt
michael kors outlet
air jordan