The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Lucky day... missed by one!

I just realized that I should have posted this note yesterday! You know, 7/7/07 and all. Alas, it was not to be. Had to run around in the morning making deliveries (bed and chair to the in-laws, car to be cleaned, you know - really important stuff), and then when we disconnected the 5-FU pump (ah, that's a relief)... my energy just seemed to collapse. I spent most of the rest of the day in the recliner, with droopy eyelids, though I managed to rally for a couple of bites of steak and roasted potatoes for dinner. So far, I have had a moderate appetite and no real changes related to taste. And when I manage to start eating, I seem to be able to continue, but sometimes I am not much interested in food.

The night, though, was another story altogether. Sleep was elusive and intermittent, and I felt thirsty all the time. I heard at least three different freight trains whistle their way through town (hoooooot-hoooooot, hoot, hooooooot! before each at-grade crossing, and there must be a dozen of those). This morning, I managed to get up and function for a couple of hours - even made french toast for breakfast! - before I collapsed back into bed, under a down comforter, for two solid hours. And now I am watching the baseball game (Mariners-Oakland) and drifting around the Internet.

But I kind of wanted to write about luck. As in, what does that mean anyways? Is it lucky to have the overwhelming support of friends and family through this adventure? Is it unlucky that I have to tread this path through life? Would other choices have lead to a different today? (I have to think the answer to that question is "of course," but not necessarily due to luck.) Lots of folks got married yesterday, all over the country (and world, I imagine) due to the propitious alignment of numbers on a calendar. I trust and hope that their future lives together are more firmly grounded than that. But interestingly it seems that serious decisions like that are made daily with a nod toward lucky conditions. In a recent issue of The National Geographic, there is an article describing the phenomenal growth of the Chinese manufacturing sector, and its effects on rural lives. It appears that beyond their innate entrepreneurial business sense, Chinese business owners make major decisions are made in consultation with feng shui experts. For some reason, I thought that feng shui was more about internal living arrangements than arranging business parks and timing moves, but I apparently was wrong. Having consulted feng shui, is the business owner lucky if it works out? In the absence of feng shui, would the decision be better or worse? Does feng shui get blamed for poor outcomes?

"Luck favors the prepared" is a motto that I first remember hearing as a sales representative-in-training in textbook publishing. As with most sales positions, there are many competitors in a limited buying market. And we had to have the right products in the right hands at the right time... nothing is worse than arriving with a competitive product right AFTER a decision has been made, eh? So what, you ask, does this have to do with colon cancer? Just this... we are all given time to prepare our lives for unexpected changes. Some call this karma. Some call it luck. I call it living a purposed life (with apologies to the popular psychologies out there that aver the same thesis). Trying my best to do the right things, to live the right way, and to forgive myself for missteps. Helping out whenever I can and to the best of my abilities (even if sometime those abilities fall short of expectations). Accepting fault in others, without judgment (this one requires work, you know!), is a piece of my karmic plan.

Have a wonderful, normal, lucky week!


dianeamend2002 said...

Dear Ed,
I enjoyed your discussion on luck and Karma. I find that I am just as fatalstic as I am opportunistic. That way, I cover my bases and can rationalize virtually everything that comes my way, for either good or bad. It offers an option so I don't have to operate on Catholic guilt.

Tee Hee!

Anonymous said...

Fate and Fortuna---much has been written on such, perhaps the best being Machiavelli. In fact, some argue that the real hidden value of "the Prince" is actually his discussion there of both luck and fate--and one should forget all of the brown nosing that fills most of its pages. What fascinated Machiavelli--someone who spent his life studying and advising "persons of action" and trying to be one himself--was the extent to which most of our lives our governed by forces outside of our control. No matter how much we plan, and regardless of our individual strength (or weakness) of will, mind, or body, we are subject to the curveballs of fate and fortune. Virtue, according to Machiavelli, is essentially how we plan for and react in response to F & F. Ed, it seems to me you are exemplifying the virtuous life he had in mind.