Saturday, October 15, 2011

Life Remains Within

Some of my close friends asked me this and I have been thinking about it every now and then. What is my own take on my situation? Forget about my present condition for the moment. Deep inside me, what is my own feel about my mortality? Before I go on, I think it's appropriate I quote Steve Jobs who said "No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there." Not that I want to live forever, in fact I don't think I want to live past 72 years old.  So what I am trying to do with all the therapy that I am taking?

When I first embarked on this therapy, I was trying to buy sometime because what the doctors told me about six months to live is just too short. I wanted a little more time, maybe a year or two more. I got that now. But now I want another three more years more, if possible. By that time I would have seen my eldest daughter graduate and my two other daughters in college. I also wanted to devote sometime to my spiritual needs that I have been neglecting for the past two years.

I can't say for other cancer patients, for me there is a Jekyll and Hyde within me. What I am referring to is that while instinctively I want to live but yet another part of me says I will not survive the cancer. There seems to be an explanation.  According to Freud, a person has two instincts: life instinct and the death instinct. Freud in his discussion of the two classes of instincts states that the first class is the sexual instincts or Eros. This is a "...self preservative instinct,...". On the other hand there is the Thanatos or death instinct whose task it is to, "...lead organic life back into the inanimate state;...". Human nature, life and the universe is unerringly a collection of opposites.

Most religions hold life to be very sacred and from a Buddhist point of view, being born as a human is really a very rare event. I hold dear to this believe. I don't know if this has something to do with my inability to recover from the sickness after a period of time. Subtly, the mind sort of slowly gives up. If the mind is giving up, how come I don't know? I try to understand this phenomena but I have yet to make sense of what's going inside my mind. Another way to help me understand is to look from the psychological approach. When medical explanations no longer remove patients’ culpability, people are left to construct the meaning and moral message of their illness on their own. This process evokes profound anxiety and sometimes oddly punitive responses. Patients may blame themselves for behaving or even thinking the wrong way. Freud’s theory of the death instinct seems to support this idea that we bring our own destruction upon ourselves. Torn eternally between eros and thanatos, we have an inner urge to return to an earlier state of inanimate, inorganic existence, Freud claimed.

It seems distressing that subtly a person can bring about their own destruction. There may be many reasons why one would walk this path but it's not always clear. Again, perhaps lessons can be learn from patients that look to the practice of euthanasia. In a study of 32 AIDS participants, researchers has found that participants' desire for euthanasia and assisted suicide were affected by two main factors: disintegration, which resulted from symptoms and loss of function; and loss of community, which was defined as progressive diminishment of opportunities to initiate and maintain close personal relationships. These factors resulted in perceived loss of self. Euthanasia and assisted suicide were seen by participants as means of limiting loss of self.


  1. CT ,
    Me too , on and off will think about it . But,it is a matter of fact that we just do not known the answer.
    I set the target to achieve as 5 years ( it's now 40 months ) I think it is a fair target .
    After 5 years is special bonus .
    I also believe with proper monitoring , our will power and God's blessing / healing, we will get the special bonus .
    Cheers !
    Wish you have a nie weekend

  2. Sorry !
    It shud be NICE weekend.

  3. Friend, have faith in yourself and do not let go. You are our pillar of faith that miracle happens. Take care and best wishes!

  4. Dear SK,

    Your achievements are amazing and inspiring. I hope you will continue to do well in the future.