[I’ll preface this post by saying that I am in excellent health and expect to be rambling on this blog for many more years.]
During the drive back from British Columbia on our vacation this past weekend I got a bit introspective about death. You see, both my grandfather and uncle died from pancreatic cancer (and reportedly my great-grandfather did too) — it’s hereditary. There is no early detection and when you’re diagnosed in the later stages you have, on average, about 3.5 months to live. Treatment options are limited and can extend your life by a few months to a few years (see the 5-year survival rate). Oh, and did I mention it’s extremely painful?
On the plus side, there’s this gem from the American Cancer Society:
Almost all patients [who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer] are older than 45. About two-thirds are at least 65 years old. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 71.
So as an almost-40-year-old I have a statistically safe 5 years before I need to be at all worried and a couple more decades before the odds start working against me. And it’s perfectly possible that I will never get cancer and live to a ripe old age.
But, what if tomorrow I was told I had 3 months to live… what would I do?
I’m making that list now and seeing which of those things I should start doing sooner rather than later.