I want to grow old. I would love to be able to do it. In the beginning it was an obsession, now it’s a wish. Or, perhaps, an illusion given the state of the research and the illness. The doctors keep drilling it in; the deadlines they set are never far into the future. Reaching Sixty won’t be easy. Since the tumor has appeared in both lungs, two, three years are a goal that can be accomplished only with the help of intense therapies. I knew all of this was a possibility, but I lived as if this would never have happen to me. At least not in this way: being catapulted from the first stage to the most advanced, the fourth, skipping all intermediary steps.
I have no choice with regards to the illness. For this reason every day I stubbornly attempt to carve out a normal life; this is not a sign of my strength but of my will to live. I want to live to the fullest the moments left, without putting limits on my dreams. I don’t have the power to prolong my time, but I can damm chose how to live the remaining instants. This stage of my life is no longer marked by the passing of hours, weeks, months… but by what I want and am able to do.
I haven’t got left but a ‘dollop of time’, as an oncologist with whom I talked told me, but what I have ahead of me are many precious moments. Each is different. Each demands to be lived to the fullest. Each is precious. They aren’t the lackadaisical pages of a calander whose dates routinely follow one after the other. They are unique, few and valuable. They cannot be wasted. A color, a ray of sunshine, a smile have an intensity unnoticed before.
I want to grow old. I want to grow old. At least I want to try, moment by moment. Reason tells me I won’t succeed, but my mind can’t imagine so near an end. I shove this thought to the side. Life, ultimately, is not a question of quantity but of quality. And I will do my best to live well. This is why, today still, though the illness is a discreet intruder of my body (each day more invasive,) every evening I think I’m happy. Yes, happy. As I’ve rarely been before.