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The Day I Found Out My Life Was Hanging by a Thread
WIRED · WIRED Staff · 8/24/17
WIRED
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15 min read

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  • Pegeen - 2 months ago
    Elisabeth Kubler Ross, the American psychiatrist who wrote the ground breaking book, On Death And Dying, once said something to the affect that it’s man’s denial of death that allows him to live such mundane, meaningless lives. Her sentiments stayed with me ever since taking her course in college back in the late 70’s. It resonates so deeply. Every morning when I open my eyes, my first thought is thank you.
  • grofter - 1 year ago
    he is brave. brave to share his and his wife's reactions, in his desire to fight such a bad cancer, in his willingness to share his naked acceptance of his situation and prognosis, and wise to know he is partially fighting this so he can do best for his kids and wife before he dies, by trying to give them as many positive moments and memories as possible.

    With McCain's glio, there have been a lot of opinion pieces about challenging the norms of how we talk and think about what "fighting cancer" is for people with these horrible prognoses. About how expanding of the goals of the "fighting" to include fighting for those positive things (memories, times with loved ones, bucket list stuff, etc) rather than solely fighting to beat the cancer itself (when chances are poor that cure is possible) being something that might be more meaningful, and that should be addressed more regularly. This guy seems to have that balance.

    this article makes me want to call in sick, and get my partner and friends to skip work, and go climb a local mountain, and then stop at the brewery on the river for beer and pizza, and talk and laugh and look at the clouds and just appreciate being alive.
    • bill - 1 year ago
      I had the same experience you describe in paragraph three. Thank you so much for sharing, you captured it perfectly.

      I'm lucky enough to get to do many of those things you describe on most days. It's incredible how fortunate I am. The other day, I ran along the Connecticut River, and since the weather was nice and the river was running, I'll launched myself, via rope-swing, and swam entirely across the river and back. Still, later that day, I found several things to complain about.

      We are always telling ourselves, "Be Here Now."
      • bill - 9 months ago
        Up. I want this one back on the homepage. Evergreen AF
    • joanne - 1 year ago
      great advice !
  • erica - 1 year ago
    I'm sitting on my balcony in New Hampshire, drinking rosé, watching the sun through the trees. This piece offers me the gift of perspective and the reminder to breathe and be grateful.

    It's terrifying that Matt did everything in his power to be healthy. We understand so little about cancer - what causes it, how to cure it. Disease is often so beyond our control.

    Reminds me of a lecture that my partner and I attended in India called The Art of Dying. The speaker talked about how people die the way they lived: their souls either sink into the muck or rise into the cosmos.
  • jamie - 1 year ago
    Jeeesh.... I feel that anything I say about enjoying the moment, or you never know day to day kinda stuff would be redundant.... BUT.... good lord! Go hug someone!
  • Darko - 1 year ago
    Daaaaaaaaaaang. That is crazy. Amazing that he is still alive despite all of that. I don't know what to take away from that.
    • joanne - 1 year ago
      that mind body connection is an amazing thing...
  • joanne - 1 year ago
    I'm feeling a little short of breath...How heart breaking and life affirming at the same time. The older I get, the more I appreciate every moment....trying not to get too involved in assigning good or bad to them. It's just life, and that's all we have. Catastrophes happen, good people die young and some old curmudgeons seem to last forever. Love as much as possible because you never know when our last thread will be ripped apart or simply wear away.
  • jlcipriani - 1 year ago
    The realization that life is fragile. that tomorrow is never guaranteed - is so powerful, and so counterintuitive, that it lands with a thud each time. In all likelihood, tomorrow will come, and the day and year and decade after that. So we all plan for the uncertain future. Even those of us (like me) who are not future thinkers and don't have real plans still have a general vision of things the future is likely to contain.

    It is unsettling to read how all assumptions about and hopes for the future have to be revised so completely. Suddenly the future means a year, two years at the outside, five at the outer edge of hope. Once that happens - it makes sense that what feels important is so much about love and fun. If I knew I only had that kind of time, I don't think I would be willing to give very much of it to work - but I probably would because of money. Note to self: buy more lottery tickets
  • sjwoo - 1 year ago
    This is one of these stories that I wish I could remember when things are not going well. No matter how much I think my life might suck, I need to remember there are people who are in far, far worse circumstances (like anybody in Houston right now, for example).

    5% two-year survival rate for 4th stage pancreatic cancer are really terrible odds, but that still means 5 out of 100 people do make it. I dearly hope Matt Bencke is one of them.