Comments: 487 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

throwaway-33334351 karma

Thanks for everyone who has asked a question that I've (for now) ignored. I'll circle back to you after a night of rest. No offense intended, but it's after midnight, I've had several beers and I need to sleep. So appreciative of all of you caring about a random redditor like me. Makes me tear up just thinking of this anonymous love I'm feeling. Thank you. Thank you. Really... thank you.

10Bens349 karma

Feel like it was a good run or what?

throwaway-33334764 karma

Yeah, no ragrets.

KaijuAlert173 karma

I guess now IS the time to get tattoos that will make you unemployable. Have anything planned?

throwaway-33334194 karma

maybe a "nobody knows nuthin' " tatt. or some dates of my kids birthdays, my wedding date, etc. in a long list of meaningful dates. but then... why bother? no current tatts, and none planned

cranberrydudz103 karma

In true Reddit speak too. We will miss you stranger that we’ve never met. Have you written notes to your kids for them to open one day with future wishes and advice?

throwaway-33334209 karma

I think I'll do videos. Part 1. the intro. Part 2. your birthday. part 3. New Years day 2024, etc. Set up gmail to send them on a scheduled basis. Just unscripted videos of me to my kids (and wife). sincere. unedited. "talking from the grave". with advice, love, wisdom, and compassion.

MeganPitt166 karma

Make sure to tell them when the last video is sent. They may always wonder if another one is coming.

throwaway-33334120 karma

That's great advice. I'll do that, definitely. And hope Alphabet/gmail doesn't go broke before like 2040.

jasontronic39 karma

You should write each a letter. There’s something special about it being tangible and in your hand writing.

throwaway-3333429 karma

But my handwriting sucks. But I know where you're coming from. I may.

eveningsand9 karma

"talking from the grave"

Do you/they have enough of a sense of humor for you to do the spooky voice, or is that out of the question?

I think I'd want to do it. But maybe on only one video.

throwaway-3333464 karma

heh, yeah, they know my humor. I hope by the end, we can talk about me dying without the tears and awkwardness. We're certainly not there yet. Believe it or not, my wife and I are already kind of there. "So, should we set up a match.com account now and then pause it, or should you wait?" I could help you find your next match". I do think I could get away with those "ooooo, I'm ghosting you" type of messages and would be well received. eventually.

jokes hiding sorrow. smiles hiding tears. irreverence hiding huge reverence for them.

fucktrutin3 karma

Nice. Thank you.

cranberrydudz37 karma

For sure write them a wedding day letter and a first child letter. It’ll make them a crying wreck but they will really appreciate everything that led up to that point in their life.

throwaway-3333445 karma

yeah, I was thinking just some videos sent on key milestones, but nothing like a handwritten letter on their wedding day, the day they have their first child ("I'm a grandpa? holy shit, this is a special day!"), etc. to stay connected. Of course, I'm crying as I'm typing this. Because I'll miss all of these things. Fuckin' A

throwaway-3333414 karma

No, thank you fucktruckin. (I just had to reply to get your username a bit wrong)

myops_rock269 karma

Sorry to hear that you’re facing such a difficult diagnosis so young. Still feeling healthy enough to travel, etc? Got anything you want to do with the time you have left?

throwaway-33334477 karma

Well, that's the rub. Do I stick around my home to get chemo and extend my life (but not extending the quality of life) OR... skip chemo, and travel the world a bit. we're doing pro/con lists right now. still undecided.

txtw303 karma

Don’t be afraid to be honest with your kids about what’s happening. I lost my dad when I was 20, he was 48, six months after diagnosis. My parents were so shocked that sometimes they would forget to tell me things, or maybe it didn’t occur to them to involve me in it. It wasn’t malicious, but I felt a little left out of what was happening, which made it harder for me.

throwaway-33334219 karma

Thanks for that perspective, TX. I'm sorry you lost your dad at such a young age. I lost my dad at 21, too, and it sucked. Then, my mom remarried (a fine old farmer salt of the earth guy) but I was too young and immature to accept that gracefully. Definitely a regret of my life.

I will indeed keep my kids up to speed, and I have no secrets. But I don't want to be a Debbie-downer type, either, and we'll have days or weeks or hours when we do not talk about the C-word in the room (same goes with my wife).

myops_rock21 karma

Maybe a split decision where you do the chemo and travel more locally…

throwaway-3333487 karma

chemo comes in 8 week stages with breaks. so, I'd love to do river cruises on German rivers thru towns (I'm in US) during my chemo breaks, or a QE-II type world cruise trip. we'll see. I'm in, though. Why not?

stinking_badgers178 karma

I think your somewhat breezy tone has some of us feeling free to respond in kind, but I wonder if you are able to describe sincerely what you are feeling? I suspect you may be someone who uses humor to deal with difficult situation, which is quite understandable. How are your family members responding to this? Your kids? It’s a hell of a thing to be dealing with at your age; old enough to have some perspective on mortality but young enough to wish for more time. I am sorry for the upcoming pain you and your loved ones will experience, and I appreciate that you are taking this opportunity to share with others

throwaway-33334465 karma

You are smart to realize that I use humor as a 'shield' to sometimes gloss over real issues. So, how am I really feeling? I'm scared shitless. I am so sorry and panicked to think about my family that I am leaving behind. I will crosstrain my wife on everything I do (taxes, sprinkler blowouts, unplugging a toilet, car oil change timing systems, etc.) in the time I have left. But she'll be scared, angry, confused, alone... god, typing this out makes me crack (emotionally) to be honest. I'm not ready for this. I'll never be ready. My kids and wife will never be ready.

1320Fastback74 karma

Was the cancer found during a checkup or were there symptoms?

throwaway-33334164 karma

I had a small bowel obstruction 6 months ago that led us to this stage 4 diagnosis. besides that one event, I've been asymptomatic, so I'm happy I blocked up and know my deadline. Otherwise, I have have gotten the ol' "I have some bad news" what is it doc? you only have 5... (what do you mean?) 4... 3. 2. 1. speech. from them.

Fameless39 karma

the fact that you were completely asymptomatic is what terrifies me... how do i get checked up without being charged a fortune on scanning/x-ray?

throwaway-3333453 karma

I can't help you out here medically. Pancreatic cancer is insidious. Unless the pancreatic cancer is covering up a vein or artery or flow of fluids, it doesn't show up symptomatically until it's too late. And then it has probably already gone metastatically (moved via blood stream) to other organs / places. yay! welcome to my world.

Suggest regular checkups, keep an eye on your weight and any pain centers you may develop, eat healthy, get blood work done annually, etc.

lurq_king47 karma

What is the most profound wisdom you have to share that could alter my life?

throwaway-33334495 karma

FYI... Dying folks don't all of a sudden become old wise sages on a mountain top. But if I had to cook down my life wisdom, it would be: it's all about human connections. nothing else matters. not money, looks, prestige, job titles, accomplishments, etc.

Look at the 2-10 people closest to you. THEY are the only thing that matter. treat them well. spend time with them. Enjoy them. They are the only "permanent things" in your life. Everything else quickly fades away. Your cool clothes, your fast car, your past glories... it's all shit and nobody cares about them.

Connect with people. your people. Life really is short. hug 'em. talk to em. give em stuff. enjoy their company. talk deep thoughts with them. share with them. learn with them.

iamtehryan20 karma

Man, I obviously don't know you, but I'm sorry that the world will be losing what seems to be an incredible light. This wise sage advice just drove me to near tears.

I hope that you are able to spend as much time with your family and friends as possible, and that you share as many hugs, laughs and stories as possible. Create memories that they can carry with them forever, and that you can take with you wherever your next chapter takes you.

So very sorry that you're having to endure this, friend. We all love you.

throwaway-3333415 karma

I'm usually not one for tears, but they are flowing when I read this. Thanks, iam. Very meaningful comment.

Familiar_Outcome_68838 karma

Are you Walter White?

throwaway-3333471 karma

I in fact do not have a pile of 100s making a 4' by 3' by 3' brick in my living room (or under my floorboards.

Question_Few35 karma

You have a year before you start the next stage of your journey. How would you like to spend it or make the most of it?

throwaway-3333480 karma

I would say "travel with family" but alas, I may be tied to my home base. Got a chemo port put in this week (so they don't blow out veins w/ the chemo) and the doctors are all "of course 4 types of chemo is the only way" but I'm thinking, gimme the over/under of NO chemo and then WITH chemo and I'll make the decision.

oxiraneobx98 karma

but I'm thinking, gimme the over/under of NO chemo and then WITH chemo and I'll make the decision.

This is a wise decision, and before I finish my point, I must say how impressed I am with your poise and humor in light of this situation. My father was the same way, his spirit, humor and poise made a difficult situation easier.

My father had a great oncologist who became a good friend. When push came to shove, he sat down with my Dad and us and explained how a doctor's goal is to keep the patient alive. And they'll do it regardless of the quality of life. He was able to give my father the straight dope, the 'with' and 'without', and Dad chose his treatment based on solid advice.

If you like your docs and trust their take, great. If not, you might want to think about a health proxy that will help you sort out the options.

For what it's worth, you gotta a lot of people here in Redditland cheering for you.

throwaway-3333481 karma

This is my favorite comment so far, Ox. Thanks. Makes me a bit emotional, actually.

Doctors' jobs are to keep us alive. and who cares about mouth sores, pain, chemo affects, etc. I'm really going after "what's the best scenario to give the the most "good days" left, not necessarily the "most days left" option. I hope to meet an oncologist as great as the one who helped your dad.

Cheers. I love knowing at least you are cheering for me.

dr__sari43 karma

Physician here - the other poster hit the nail on the hear with this one. So many MDs feel like they have to "do everything" for their patients. It can be harder to talk about the "do less" or "do nothing but manage symptoms" options, but those are REAL options. You seem like you have a very level headed approach to this bad news. You don't have to do all the treatment if it's not going to net you anything that is worthwhile to YOU. Good luck to you and your family! I hope the rest of the time you have is good, high quality, and is what you want it to be!

throwaway-3333430 karma

Love your perspective, Sari. Thanks. It's funny, but so far, all of the doctors on my treatment team have been 100% "chemo, heroic measures, let's get you every day of life possible", but I'm starting to ask "How can I squeeze out and maximize the number of good days, i'm not too concerned with 'total days' ". We'll see. I think I'll be an empowered patient and ask the tough, real questions and then decide from there.

marcusaureliusjr20 karma

Hi Friend,

Take everything you can. Something might work.

My wife's aunt is inoperable and was supposed to die a loooong time ago. Guess how long she has had cancer for now? 9 years! Sometimes it takes a hell of a long time, even with inoperable.

throwaway-3333425 karma

Thanks for that optimism. I'm 53 years old, no other pre-existing conditions, have a high pain tolerance, generally pretty healthy, so I like my odds. But on the other hand, this cancer is terminal. It will eventually kill me. 9 months? 12 month? 24 months? No doctor has mentioned anything possible outside of 18 months. But do I keep hope alive? hell yeah.

hankappleseed33 karma

Is it scary?

throwaway-33334109 karma

Surprisingly, not yet. I'm not very religious / spiritual, and I've had my down moments of sadness, but no fear. I'm pretty analytical, as is my wife, and we've started many lists of things to do, to cross-train, people to inform, etc. The fear may catch up with me eventually, but for now, we're just pivoting to this new reality.

Toledous32 karma

I imagine the treatments wouldn't start for a week or two no? If that's the case I'd go balls to the wall on a cool family vacay. Screw school, screw work, let's go. I'd take the time between setting appointments to do a bomb ass trip to Disney World or something. It's hard to go overseas for just a week, so this would be my go-to. Make some killer memories while you're still active and awaiting treatment. You said you're financially stable, I'd book tickets now, and be clear with your kids that this is most likely the last "full" family trip. Make those memories while they can still be made. I think that's what I would do for my kids at their age (mine currently are 5 and 1 and I'm 20 years your junior, so I probably take them to Paris as it's already on my daughter's bucket list). I guess it depends on the urgency and how fast they can get you in, as well as prognosis. Maybe you have the curable one? Maybe you get lucky? I don't know, and you don't know. Go on a cool short trip with a 2 bedroom situation, have some wild sex and have fun for a minute before things turn south.

Also maybe make videos for your kids for certain milestones that they can see as they grow. Like "you graduated high school/college?! Amazing!". "Sorry I couldn't walk you down the aisle, but I'm sure you look amazing hunny". "youre having a baby?!?, I remember when you were born..." There may even be a service that will send videos when appropriate, or you can ask a trusted friend to send a link or the video when the time is right. That's something I think I would do for my kids so they know that dad will always live in their heart and hopefully remember me as I was. I'll stop cutting onions now.

Since I have to ask a question, does that sound good to you? There are likely hard times ahead for your family (and yourself), but what do you want them to remember? Sorry man. I'm putting myself in your shoes and I don't envy it.

throwaway-3333434 karma

I think I found my director of my death videos... heh. thanks for those ideas. You are exactly correct. May be time to jump on some planes, get some memories, fuck the cost and lock in those good times. Why not? In 10 years what will be remembered? that we had some earnest, nice phone calls / what's app video chats with each other? or that we went to hong kong Disney / went to Kingston Jamaica / went to paris? I'll be sending this thread to my wife, and we are an action-oriented couple. So, thanks for this inspiration.

I appreciate your well thought out advice. Well received here.

Charming-Station19 karma

I'm really sorry.

I'm 42, three kids. I think about this often and wonder how I'd react if I found out. I think most people do, so I assume at some stage you must have. Are you able to put into words what it felt like to find out, and were there symptoms or was this a random discovery?

throwaway-3333460 karma

Denial. Those 5 stages of grief are real. Angry. Bargaining (what if I eat better? what if I do full chemo and then eat better?) My doctors were all very analytical and matter of fact, which made me and us be a bit matter of fact, too. "What's my prognosis? How long do I have?" "Well, I would say you have between 10 and 15 months, depending on how you respond to our palliative care treatment. But this is terminal. You'll never be cancer free". "oh, okay. ummm. hmmmm... I don't have any other questions. Do you, [wife]? Okay, thanks". I had a small bowel blockage with led us down this path to find my root cause cancer. NUMB is the word I would describe. I'm still numb. Unreal is the second word. and shit would be the third word.

Aggravating-Ball-58216 karma

E. Jean Carroll said something along the lines of "At the end of their lives, men always regret not having more sexual partners." (Can't find the original Ask E Jean column, as the court case has drowned it out in search). Is this regret something that's crossed your mind?

throwaway-3333471 karma

I'm had a very vanilla, typical cis-male sexual history. probably 15 partners, lost virginity at 16 w/ a long-term girlfriend, married in late 20s, faithful ever since. I'm not especially horny these days, as I get older the sex drive does fade (at least for me). I'm not a sexual creature. I'm satisfied with my sexual life. No rAgrets!

XmasJ1 karma

I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis and will pray for you and your family.

Are you religious? Has your health situation made you feel anything different in a spiritual sense that you didn't feel before?

throwaway-3333435 karma

Hey, X. Thanks for your prayers. I'm not too religious. Grew up very Catholic. Fallen away. I'm a bit agnostic at the moment. I think it would be lame to now fall back to my Christian faith, as if at the last hour, the last day, I'll grasp at eternity by just exclaiming my faith, like that guy on the cross next to Jesus.

I do believe in an afterlife, that my soul will live on. But not necessarily JUST thru Jesus. I may in fact take my own life when I get sicker and sicker, before I'm tubed/intubated/on life support. I don't think I'll be going to "hell" if I do that. And if there's a god who would send me to hell for me ending my life before it gets incredibly painful with every breath and I decide to end that pain, well then, that's not a god I'd choose to spend time with anyway, I don't think.

Of course, that old argument of "if you don't know if there's a Christain afterlife, wouldn't it be wise to assume there is and pray for it, and if I'm wrong, no big deal, but if I'm right, I get into the pearly gates?" I think Jesus would see thru my cynicism, so I'm just going to die like I lived. Morally pure, but not 'religious" per se