To say that Tallie doesn’t like the idea redefines understatement. When I told her of my plans, she argued, she cursed, she yelled, she wept, and she accused.
She accused me of excessive pride, of fleeing before my deterioration becomes pronounced, before my vigor diminishes and betrays the image of vitality I have cultivated.
Accused me of misdirected compassion, of sparing her the burden of caring for me as my disease progresses.
Accused me of selfishness, of depriving her of sharing with me those final moments, as though the experience was a prize I reserved solely for myself.
The issues, I explained during a days-long conversation, involved trust and timing. Stymied by my intransigence, she relented…but with conditions. I accepted each of her stipulations because I love her, which I assumed to her would have been obvious. There’s a journey I need to start shortly and Tallie needs to trust that what I’m doing is necessary.
My diagnosis: a terminal illness. My prognosis: six to nine months, perhaps a year if extraordinary measures are applied toward the end.
My doctor, Janine, assures me that during the first month, I shouldn’t notice many physical changes beyond the dull pain in my gut and back that sent me to her in the first place…perhaps a tendency to fatigue more quickly than usual, a possible loss of appetite and some jaundice. Her professional concerns focus more on my emotional stability, so she prescribed medication to ward off anxiety and depression. I’ve been taking it since a second opinion confirmed her diagnosis last week. I also have an ample supply of painkillers should they prove necessary.
The journey…so it begins; or, as a friend of mine once counseled…the journey continues.
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