It would have taken me months to write many more essays. Years, probably, before I wrote a really good one. And it would have taken me forever to understand and figure out all that I wanted to understand and figure out.
But what I got are weeks.
The chemotherapy regimen I’ve been on, Gemcitabine, has stopped working. Blood tests show that my tumour-marker levels are rising. My pain is being managed well, but it is getting worse — it’s clear that my disease is advancing. And my appetite has diminished greatly; eating often hurts.
The most promising treatments are not all that promising. They are phase 1 clinical trials of drugs broad enough for any cancer, whose effectiveness is thus far only speculative and whose dosage has yet to be determined. So at this point, they’re more likely to do harm than good.
And because pancreatic cancer moves so quickly, what I got are weeks.
Before I had cancer, I too had years. And for the last year and a half, I had months. It was only logical that it would turn into weeks at some point. And so it happens now.
Marcus Aurelius once asked himself how he would react if a god told him that he would either die tomorrow or the day after. And he couldn’t see what difference it would make.