Life is a journey… | the ramblings and writings of a guy who prefers to write on paper, but can't live without the internet…

Day 99 – Counting Up

Some of you may have noticed that my post titles now start with a day count. Here’s an explanation of why…

I had an appointment last week with a member of my health care team and she asked me if I had any thoughts on how long my fight with cancer would last. She assured me that if I didn’t have a number in mind that was ok, and that we didn’t have to discuss it either if I preferred not to. I looked at her and immediately said, “No, I don’t have a number…I’m counting up.” She got this very interested look on her face and I continued by explaining that I don’t have any way to calculate how long is left, and nobody has any way to help me calculate that number either. Besides, counting down to the end is depressing, it’s giving up, it’s waiting around, it’s looking down instead of up and out. For me, I can’t do that, so I count up. Counting up makes each moment, each day, each minute a win. It tells me, not how long I have to endure, but how long I have endured, how long I have survived, how long I have lived.

I think about when I used to run, and even then I never counted down how long I had left. I always counted up. How far have I gone, how far can I go? Those were the questions that most often were asked in my mind as I pounded away on the pavement or treadmill. Sure, sometimes I would struggle, or have a bad day, or just really not want to run that day, and those days I would get about half way and then turn to a countdown in my mind…1 mile left…3/4 miles…1/2 mile…1/4 mile…done. Thing is, the run was the same distance every time. Counting up, counting down, neither one can change the length of distance you are counting, a mile is a mile from beginning or from the end. I would just have struggles, which are nothing new. These struggles and distractions can sometimes allow us to slip back into defeating behaviors (counting down) without noticing or even recognizing them.

I would invite you to take some time and consider how you account for things. Do you let the counting down dominate your thinking, focused only on the end, giving up on everything else around you…or do you attempt to live in the moment, to make the memory, to do the thing that scares you, to do the things that make you happy, to dance, to sing, to live? If it’s the former, how much life are you missing with your eyes so focused down at the end?

Me? I’m going to keep counting up. My Day 1 was Saturday, August 25th. It’s the day I ended up in the emergency department and the doctors came in with the results of my abdominal scan. It’s the first day I heard them say the word cancer. It’s the day I started counting up.

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