I had my annual physical a few weeks ago and my doctor proclaimed that I was in good shape, at least for someone my age. After I left, she texted me that she forgot to mention that she scheduled me for a colonoscopy. I then remembered an article I had read some years ago about a prominent doctor who said that when he turned 75 he stopped all diagnostic testing and would let nature run its course. He had too often seen the results of trying to delay the inevitable. At first, I was ready to cancel the test, but after a while I decided to go ahead and have it done.
Why am I even getting a colonoscopy?
After thinking about it, I decided that I want to know if I have cancer so that I can better plan for what is left of my life. If the test shows that everything is fine, then I can proceed with my normal life, at least for now. If the tests find cancer, then at least I will have a better view of when my time may come, but I will not likely approve any colon surgery.
My father died almost twenty-two years ago of colon cancer. He was two years older than I am now. I still remember the last six months of his life. He, upon the recommendation of his doctor, had his colon removed. After the surgery, he hated pooping in a bag and having to clean it up daily. Then about three months later the cancer was back, this time in his liver. He spent the next three months in and out of hospitals, robbing him of any quality of life. He died six months after the surgery, which I guess was normal.
That experience of the recent 78 days of acute trauma of my wife dying has convinced me that I don’t want to extend my life beyond its natural bounds. I am happy to spend my last days of whatever freedom they may bring doing what I want to do and then, hopefully only spending a couple of weeks in the death process.
I am just not one who fears my death. I have had a pretty good life, and just want to end it on my terms. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I am not willing to sacrifice one day of quality for maybe a month of just existing. It’s as simple as that for me.