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It needs to be okay to die.

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24

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  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    "If it's okay to die then it's okay to do what I have to to live well in the time that I have left. "

    I just got off the phone with a very dear friend, someone I've known for almost 40 years. I asked her about planning retirement. She said she thinks she can make it until she "qualifies" in 2023. But she's decided she will USE her vacation days, not hoard them so they can be paid out in cash when she leaves. She said, taking her vacation days off is what will let her get to 2023 before retiring.

    You can use whatever strategies you need to to get there. If it's mushrooms or anxiety meds or continual funny cat videos or ... whatever works for you. Take the vacation days. Live well.

  • molliefish
    molliefish Member Posts: 650
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    runor might I suggest starting with some pot and working your way over to mushrooms? :-) Rock on

  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
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    I would think pot and mushrooms offer very different experiences? Never tried mushrooms so I am clueless there. Although for me, pot just makes me barf. Fun times.

    But yes, runor, that scene you described is similar to my preferred exit strategy: I want to keel over after winning an age group medal in one of my races, preferably after drinking a big ol beer. That would be a way to leave on a high note.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
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    I have been thinking about this. The most difficult part of the whole cancer experience for me has been grieving the loss of my view of an "easy" death. That was to be at the age of 101, asleep in my bed, after a long day of digging around in my garden. So I have had to let all that go because that little nagging voice is in the back of my head telling me I will be dealing with the beast in one form or another again. Runor, I still have hope that this may not be a return for you. And prayers. Hope you try the pot and it helps with all the anxiety.

    Edj3 while I highly respect your exit strategy, meh the exercise route is not for me haha. I think my new exit strategy should be trampled by rogue elephants while on African safari. Yep that'll do.

  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
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    Rah2464, what you wrote about letting go of the way you thought you'd die was exactly my experience--and exactly as you wrote in the steam room thread: breast cancer was my second cancer and shit got real for me in a way it hadn't before.

    I come from long living people, grandparents died at 95, 92, 92, and 86 and she only died that young because she refused to ever get a colonoscopy so her colon cancer was found way too late. So my story was I would live as long as the majority of my grandparents--who were pretty healthy, no dementia blah blah self-righteous blah.

    Melanoma dx was in 2017, breast cancer in 2019. Well crap, that didn't fit in with my grandparents' profiles and so my entire story came unraveled.

    And also like Rah2464, I suspect one of mine will pop up again. Maybe I too should think about that African safari? Only for me, I would have to have the end come as I'm petting wild lions or tigers and they somehow very gently end things.

  • summerangel
    summerangel Member Posts: 182
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    I don't fear death, but I've never really thought too much about why. Now that I'm thinking about it, I think it's a combination of things. I was raised religious and now am pretty spiritual, studied various religions in college, and I think my general philosophical way of thinking about life and death probably helps. I see life and death as a cycle and assume there's something afterwards, even though I'm not sure what that is. My entire family also speaks freely about death and my parents, who are 81 and 83, are preparing for their deaths very openly. They recently finished paying for their gravestones and have already paid for their cemetery plots and cremations. They've made sure we know where everything important is and how they expect us to take care of things after they're gone. It's just normal for us. I'm also just not a person who worries very much. It's not in my nature to be bothered by "what ifs". I think that's mostly genetic, actually, because I can't think of anything that would have taught me how not to worry. I'm okay with dying, whether it's soon or many years from now. I don't wish for death, but I know that it will come when it's meant to.

  • sunnidays
    sunnidays Member Posts: 160
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    SummerAngle that is fantastic and sort of how I feel. I am more concerned about my husband and Children than myself my husband says to me this isn't the end and I will meet you again I find that comforting. I have this image of me going swimming and my husband is on the beach which is empty and he is minding the clothes I turn around to wave at him and then I just drift away.

    I had an uncle who was in his 70s he just sat down in a chair and died his son who has been chatting to him a few minutes beforehand came back from the kitchen and found him dead, my sister in law's mother who was 83 went out for lunch with her family on mother day has a stroke and died just as they were finishing lunch. I think deaths like are brilliant but may be hard on the families because of the shock.


  • runor
    runor Member Posts: 1,613
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    Do I fear being dead? I think I fear knowing I'm dead and that I can't get back to where I want to be. If I am dead and just an unknowing nothing puff of dust, then being dead won't be all that bad. 

    Do I fear dying? Yes. I am not a big fan of pain. Things that hurt generally make me cranky. I avoid pain. I am needle phobic and suffer terribly over every jab I have to get. Medical procedures where you are treated like a slab of meat on a conveyor belt are dehumanizing and mortifying. I hate feeling helpless and out of control and being part of the Cancer Machine is like being sucked into the void where it's not about you, it's about what is done to people like you.

    I fear missing out. I fear the lives that will be lived by those I love that I will be gone for. Not part of. Absent. That is the wort for me, all the loss. Witnessing the lives of my loves, that is what matters. Being gone, that is just so vicious. And the grief is terrible! Since breast cancer I have carried a sorrow so heavy. Even when cancer is not on my mind 24/7, there is a crushing sorrow. I lost something when I got breast cancer. I lost some carefree weightlessness. It was replaced by a crushing mountain of reality. I was happier and mentally freer when I had no clue that things could so radically change.

    I have instructed daughter to hire a sniper to pick me off when I least suspect it. I have insisted she hire a good one, one that I will not see coming. I want to be happily watering the rhubarb when  -ping!- it's all over. Failing that, following the safari theme, I can picture myself on the Savannah as the massive sun sets, orange and rippling in watery heat waves, when some hunting native mistakes my fat backside for a plump hippo and thwacks me with a poison dart from a blow gun. Dart in ass - dead. Perfect. (except for the poor guy who gets a dead tourist instead of a hippo, bummer)

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 757
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    Good luck this week.

  • buttonsmachine
    buttonsmachine Member Posts: 339
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    This passage comes from the intro of a book I am reading about death, but this book is also about what death can teach us about living well and living fully. The book is called The Five Invitations by Frank Ostaseski.

    "[T]he nature of life itself is holy. We are always on holy ground. Yet this is rarely a part of our daily experience. For most of us, the sacred shows up like a flash of lightning, a sharp inhalation between one unnoticed breath and the next. The daily fabric that covers what is most real is commonly mistaken for what is most real until something tears a hole in it and reveals the true nature of the world."

    As this author says, some people say that this life is only the veil, and the spiritual life, or the eternal life is the more real one. I understand why people may not see it that way. Furthermore, some people might dismiss spirituality as a defense mechanism or wishful thinking to be deployed as a last ditch consolation in otherwise grim circumstances. But that is not what it is to those of us who believe. Maybe I have always been a spiritual person, even though I have had phases of questioning and doubt, as do all people. Still, I have always felt that there is more than this life, and more than what we can see. I think this does help me to face death. I'm still afraid of pain, and the actual dying process, and the medical interventions between now and then. But I think believing in something bigger helps to keep the human condition and death in context. It is a joy along the way.

  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311
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    buttonsmachine, I agree with you. In my over 34 years of nursing I have witnessed the spiritual side of death.

    Death is a personal journey which each individual approaches in their own unique way. Nothing is concrete, and nothing is set in stone. There are many paths one can take on this journey but all lead to the same destination. Unless death results in trauma like getting thwacked with a poison dart from a blow gun, most often it doesn't end with pain even though it looks that way. Sometimes, there is a family member who says no to any intervention. Yes, I believe in the open window, open the blinds, let the soul go free. Yes, sometimes this soul waits for that last person to come and say goodbye.

  • molliefish
    molliefish Member Posts: 650
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    I’ve waited a while to post here. As a cop we see a lot of death. Those who plan it. Those who don’t. Runor, it is ok to die. We are expected to die. We’re going to die, of that, there is no doubt. The pisser is for most of us, we don’t know when or how. I’ve known judges, cops and citizens who have decided it’s time to go. There are some I miss dearly and still ‘talk to’. I’ve met those who didn’t know it was their time, yet they’ve gone. Suicide, homicide, accidental (the old death by misadventure) or natural, time runs out, every one has their time. My best advice is make the best choices you can with the information you have because every single situation is unique. You don’t know what you don’t know and all that.... I haven’t died yet. I’m not ready to go yet,but when my time comes I’ll have very little to say about it won’t I ? From the first death investigation that I conducted I realized I could be next. I’ve lived and continue to live my best life. That gives me strength, hope and strangely peace. I’m not sure that’s helpful. I am a fan as you know. Xoxo

  • Phoenixrose8
    Phoenixrose8 Member Posts: 68
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    The below book was like reading about all of these concepts and more:

    Courageous Dreaming

    By ALBERTO VILLOLDO, PH.D.

    When I came across this title, I immediately bought it. Simply brilliant.

    Another helpful thought experiment I like to do is to dig into quantum and/or astrophysics articles or books. Sometimes taking a step back makes everything more familiar.

  • runor
    runor Member Posts: 1,613
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    I am writing this the day before I go for my Hysteroscope and D&C, being done to gather specimens for the lab because all past menopause bleeding is considered cancer until proven otherwise. And I have no evidence at this point that it's anything other than cancer. I have an ultrasound that is all bad news.

    What's kept me awake is not only that it has to be okay to die, but how does one LIVE until that point? I read somewhere here on BCO where someone said that yes, they were metastatic, they were dying, but not today!   

    This is where I am hung up. Well, I'm hung up on all of it. Having more cancer, having advanced cancer, having horrible treatments that I have pretty much decided to refuse, then how to manage my life that I have left so I don't spend every day in a hunched, gray ball of cold, gripping terror as I have been since March 27. This is no way to live. This is not living! This is listening to every second as it ticks off a clock and it says DOOM DOOM DOOM 24/7. I hate this. I hate that I get like this. I hate that I am anxious and despairing. I would not call it depression, although the feeling is probably similar. I think this is mourning. Mourning my loss of mental bliss. But if this turns out to be cancer, I am going to have more and bigger losses coming at me. Yet I have to live despite that.  How?  I don't know how. I don't want to feel like I do now. How do I shake that off and get on with whatever life I have left? Even if by some miracle I don't have cancer, and I don't even like to say that because I feel like hoping is just asking to be sucker punched, but if I don't have cancer.... this entire scare has utterly knocked me off any path I was traveling and sent me into a free fall with no safety net. It is a bullhorn screaming directly into my ear YOU ARE NEVER SAFE.  I know this. I want to not know this. I want to live as if I am safe. I realize I sound like a big baby.

    I thought writing this down would help clarify things in my own head. It didn't.  

  • Gamb
    Gamb Member Posts: 570
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    Runor, when My husband passed on, i existed from second to second every damn day until I got my own cancer dx, which was 2 years later. I am still living second, by second, minute by minute, day by day.. For me there is no tomorrow and this is what helps me live today. It's not the way to live that I knew before and I hope it's not the way I will live. But for now its all I have and it has helped me to have this mind set. Peace to you.

  • ninetwelve
    ninetwelve Member Posts: 328
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    runor, I'm so sorry you are going through this panic and horror. I know a little bit about panic myself.

    Recently I watched the Rooney Mara version of Mary Magdalene, in a film of that name. She was portrayed as a healer and midwife. Her technique when calming a pain-wracked sufferer was to lay down next to them, stroking their face and looking deep into their eyes. I'm not religious, but I was moved by the presence and grace in her whole being. I wish there were someone to hold you and tell you stay here and breathe and be soothed.

    I've also been reading No Self, No Problem, by Chris Niebauer, who writes that you are not your thoughts. There's some neuroscience about how the left brain, which is the language based side, is built to find problems and solve them and when it can't resolve something, it will sometimes invent a problem in a way that is so convincing it can make us completely irrational but still convinced that we MUST be right. It's available for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. It is helping me to not give in to ruminations over things out of my control.

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 757
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    Wishing you well tomorrow, and I trust you will have the courage to come to whatever level of acceptance of whatever the diagnosis turns out to be. You're not there yet, but I get the despair and your desperation to get treated for God's sake!!!

    While I was/am living through my life altering shit, I too live day to day, second to second, and I had to remember to BREATHE in between!!! Deep breaths!! Try it. Please be kind to yourself. I suffered for 9 months thinking I was way stronger than I was and that I could do it!! Well, I had to accept that I couldn't and needed help. Thanking the Prozac gods!! Again, good luck tomorrow.

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,403
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    runor--I am hopeful that your test results are favorable and you can get past this. Remember that you are ALLOWED to feel whatever your feelings are, and owe no one any explanation or apology. Most of us here know exactly what you are feeling without you saying a word; we get it. When you say "It is a bullhorn screaming directly into my ear YOU ARE NEVER SAFE. I know this. I want to not know this. I want to live as if I am safe," just remember that goes for every single living being on earth. No one is "safe." Oblivious to what might be lurking, maybe... but not safe. Humans are fragile and it's a shock when we are shown exactly how fragile we are.

    I'd venture to say that most of us do not think you are behaving like a baby. You are putting a voice to the feelings we have had, or are still having. Just go with it; whatever lies ahead you will handle it.

  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
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    I see I have more editing to do. Runor, you wrote:

    I realize I sound like a big baby.

    Here it is, fixed:

    I realize I sound terrified, which is accurate. I am. How do you cope?

  • runor
    runor Member Posts: 1,613
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    Gamb - so sorry about the double whammy of losing Hub then cancer. Who plans this stuff? Yes, it seems like living has to be a second by second dedication to be here in this second, enjoy this second, be okay for just this second, then start all over again in the next. What a lot of work it takes to just get through. 

    Ninetwelve - Things out of my control are a HUGE trigger for me. I think that's why I never became a recreational drug user in my youth. Pot gave me terrible paranoia and anxiety and I felt totally out of control of myself and my surroundings and that is a big, fat NO for me. My daughter suggested that I take mushrooms (psilosybin) to get over my anxiety but she does not understand that being out of my mind is not my happy place. Having cancer and what it does to me is out of my control. How I react is (theoretically) in my control and so far I have seriously dropped the ball on getting my shit together. In the famous words of the Warren Zevon song, "My shit's fucked up".  I encourage you to google the tune on youtube.

    Wrenn - YES! Permission to die IS permission to live!  I grasp this. I know this is a truth. But I still can't stuff it into my soul so that the bad feelings go away. It's like a song I know the melody to, but not the words. I need to learn the words. I need to sing this until my soul and body hear it and my heart is freed to live until I live no more. You nailed it. I am wrestling with this.

    Ctmb - having had a seriously bad reaction to SSRIs in the past, I am now tagged as someone who cannot take them. While smoking pot relaxes some people it makes me freak out. I have been dabbling in smoking CBD but not found that it does much for my mood but makes it taste like someone shit in my mouth. That stuff is nasty! Someone gave me some chaga tea, which I know nothing about. It's like drinking sand. 

    LW22 - it's so true that people are fragile, yet tough as hell. There are people on this site who have been to hell and back. Or are still in hell! I think of Lita and how tough and resilient she was. I read her posts and thought, how in god's name does she carry on? People are TOUGH! Yet life is a flame and can be so easily snuffed out. Do you think cows, dogs and kangaroos think about this? Even they run away from what might kill them. But the rest of the time, do they ponder their own existence? Is it a blessing or curse. Right now it feels like a curse.

    EDJ - the editor. You make me laugh. I picture you sitting across from me as we talk over coffee and then you just reaching across and cuffing me on the head  saying, "Shadup wit dat crap". Ha ha. Everyone needs the friends who tell you to shut up. I have several. I love them.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
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    Rumor, I just want to tell you, once again, that even if it turns out to be cancer, it's NOT the end of the world, or of you. You'd be more than welcome in the Shit Magnet Club for those of us who have been whammied more than once, dealt with it, and gone on with our lives.

  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
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    runor, pot and I are not good friends. The stuff makes me puke and that's something I loathe doing. Probably my own control mechanism tripping in there.

    And mostly I will edit your words when you're slamming yourself. This IS a hard place you're in, even if everything turns out peachy. You're not being a baby or a chicken or a wimp or anything else like that. You're scared, tired, anxious, freaked out and if you're still bleeding then you're probably super exhausted and anemic.

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 757
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    Edibles? Better than smoking it. Hubs had an endless supply being dropped off. I used a brownie or cookie to help me sleep back then.

  • annadou
    annadou Member Posts: 46
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    runor

    I wish you the best possible outcome with your procedure

    I made the mistake of thinking I was safe- everyone around me did -all being so damm positive even my then onc

    This new one said that with positive nodes the first time it was almost certain that MBC would occur

    No one told me that at the get go-too hung up on the five years and being positive

    So ,yes, I have days of spiraling out of control with panic other days in denial or fright and I try to remember my mother saying to us as kids to be grateful for what you have got and that you are healthy (there was poliomyelitis around )

    So I am grateful (most of the time ) to have lived in this wonderful universe,to never have been hungry,homeless, war stricken or sick .To have been lucky enough to pass on my DNA which was passed on to me through thousands of generations of ancestors who made it through fires,famines and all sorts of tortuous things

    Just hope nature will be kind and recycle me into something nice when the time comes

    Scans tomorrow to check progress -hope there’s no shitstorm waiting for me

    Strength to all to find a way to cope

    Anna

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
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    runor, good luck with the procedures tomorrow. And here's hoping that it is 'proven otherwise' about your post-menopausal bleeding - and that it's not cancer.

    I'll be there with you in thought and spirit!


  • beaverntx
    beaverntx Member Posts: 2,962
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    Runor, still in your pocket, especially tomorrow!

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
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    Runor will be riding in your hip pocket today - hoping you don't actually have to join Alice's club.

    Say the word and I will load my Dually truck up with a barrel of Kentucky's finest bourbon and make a run for the border, just in case you want some liquid medication to process. I will socially distant assist you in emptying said barrel.

    All kidding aside, sending prayers and heartfelt hugs for you.

  • kbl
    kbl Member Posts: 2,772
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    Runor, I will be thinking good thoughts for you today. Hugs from here and a hope for the best.

  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
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    Piling on to the runer love fest--since someone is already in your hip pocket, I'll take a shirt pocket.

  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,644
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    runor, I woke up thinking about you. I was thinking, wouldn't it be nice if they just took your uterus and all the trimmings out during the procedure? No more worries about that real estate. We're all anxious awaiting your next post.

    Rah2464, I almost choked on my coffee when I read your comment about the barrel of Kentucky's finest. Too funny. I think you'd find a bunch of us willing to socially distance around said barrel. Thanks for the laugh!

    Carol