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What I learned from dying; Little victories

I’m in Indianapolis this week staying with my fiancée Jamie so I’m sitting at her kitchen table, looking out at the frosty back patio, trying to think of what to write.

I’m watching as birds flit in and out of a birdhouse mounted in a tree outside. I’m very tired. I have minimal feeling in my hands and feet from the neuropathy caused by the chemo, and my spit up cup is within reach as always.

It doesn’t sound like a very good morning but in fact it is. Things have been a little bit better lately and I have to cling to the little victories.

My most recent CT scan showed that my cancer has shrunk, if only a little. This past weekend volunteers held fundraising events for me, for which I’m forever grateful.

I started work on a joint project between the Clarion and a national publication, to be revealed soon. And in general, I don’t feel as bad as I did just a matter of a couple of months ago.

I’m able to drive myself to chemo treatments and I’m spending less time in bed recently. My weight loss seems to have plateaued, which means I can finally choose a size for the smaller clothes I need so I don’t look like a child swallowed by my former, much larger clothes.

One of my friends called yesterday and said we needed to plan to take a trip of some kind in the coming months and for the first time it actually seemed like something that could really happen.

The very fact that I’m typing this in a chair instead of lying in bed is an improvement since my earlier columns.

People have commented often that they appreciate my positive attitude throughout this ordeal but I usually say that I have the choice to be happy or be sad but I don’t have the choice of whether to have cancer, so why not choose to be happy?

I believe that staying positive is beneficial to overall health, but if nothing else, it affects whether people want to be around you.

Everyone has problems, some bigger than others and some more long-term than others, but we all have to live in this world together. No one has ever said, “I like hanging out with him because he always has a new complaint” or “she’s so negative, it’s refreshing.”

Now this doesn’t mean to be Pollyanna and ignore problems, but we mustn’t let our problems become all we’re about.

My cancer has shrunk, my community continues to support me and I’m feeling better. All that might change any day now but even if I feel worse and the cancer spreads, I’m going to do my best to always keep an eye out for new little victories.

By Dave Taylor


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