I took this photo just over four weeks ago, on my Dad’s 64th birthday. I’ve no idea what he was contemplating, if indeed he was, but I like to think he was thinking how awesome he is and that his fight to stay well is worth it.
Four years ago my fantastic Dad was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma – never heard of it, you probably wouldn’t have, it’s Bile Duct Cancer which is very rare. There are approximately 1000 new cases in the UK each year and prevalence rates are estimated to be 1-2 cases per 100,000 people in the Western World. Which just proves the point, my Dad is exceptional, in fact I’m tempted to add a zero and make him one in a million.
Last week he had blood tests, Monday he had a CT Scan with a contrast dye and tomorrow we (Dad, Mum and myself) are going to see his consultant. Dad’s condition is terminal and each time we see his consultant I never expect to see him again, but Dad amazes us all and has remained relatively healthy.
Just lately though Mum has admitted he is getting breathless without much exertion. Arguably it could be old age, or general lack of fitness but I think we all know that it is far more likely to be linked to the spread of his cancer. So tomorrow we’ll hear the latest results, we’ll have more of an idea of how far it’s spread and where to, and I’m confident that Dad will be offered chemotherapy again. Six months ago he was offered it and after much thought turned it down, three months ago he was far more interested in decorating and enjoying the summer to want it, tomorrow I suspect he might feel differently.
Last week Steve Jobs died, and in the flurry of online activity that followed his death I found my way to his Stanford Commencement Address from 2005, you can watch it on YouTube here, it’s only 15mins and highly inspiring IMO:
Steve Job’s death, and the attention that followed it, brought home the reality (again) of loss and the impact that has on many people. There was one particular quote that has stayed with me and played on my mind all week, I thought I’d end this post with it as I think it’s always worth remembering – not just that we should all find the courage to follow our own path, but that death itself has a sense to it, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new