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the simple act of drawing breath

Yesterday I had lunch with a close colleague who, towards the early part of last year, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

After undergoing a battery of very powerful treatments of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, he has beaten the odds thus far and he is still going strong. The only sign of illness is a dramatic loss in weight due to a lack of appetite.

I had visited in the hospital shortly after commencing his treatments and he had looked like a grey ghost. It was a tough period for him.

The tumour is close to an artery which has negated the possibility of surgery; therefore the only remaining course of treatment is more radiotherapy/chemotherapy. For the moment neither treatment is being employed as the tumour is, for now, essentially dormant.

We spoke about life and about how short it all is and I could see the resolve that he had to stay positive and focus on his goal to beat this cancer; which is one of the worst types to contract. His spirituality has also blossomed and there is a graceful serenity that has installed itself in his being.

He is facing an uncertain future with dignity and I was honoured to share a meal with him.

My plans are to see him more regularly over the coming months and I know he greatly values company after having been cloistered in a hospital bed for 6 months. Now at least at home he can take walks and hopefully enjoy some of the Montreal summer that is ahead.

I tried my best to bolster his resolve and be very positive while understanding that there are no guarantees in this life. Miracles can happen every day and we don’t know what lies in store but we can pray and we can reflect and we can enjoy each day and take things as they come.

Seeing him reminded me of how much we take for granted each day and how thankful we should be for the simple act of drawing breath.

We parted with a hug and he thanked me profusely for having come but it was I who benefited the most from our time together.


Comments

  1. You raise good points. I think that for many of us we keep our femme sides bottled up until we are done with our child raising obligations and our children are out of the house and hopefully surviving on their own. This gives us the freedom to know that we have done our duty and we can now look at some of our "bucket list" needs.
    Pat

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