Updated: Feb 9, 2020
My last birthday marked a major milestone. I turned forty-nine, just one year short of having lived half a century. The gravity of this didn’t really hit me hard until my church had a requiem service recently where we reflected on the aging process and death.
As I sat in my pew, I found myself thinking, for the first time, seriously, in my life, I am getting older. I really am getting older! I do not have an infinite amount of time at my disposal. What am I going to do with the time that I have left on Earth?!?
I feel I have begun to find my personal answer to this question, but before I elaborate on that, I need to provide some context. About two years ago now, the doctors relayed to me some devastating news: they thought I very likely had ovarian cancer. Those in the mainstream medical system wanted to take drastic action and operate, right away. Beyond that, who knew what else. Chemotherapy? Radiation???
The future was looking uncertain and scary in ways I had never even imagined were possible. I don't recall a time of ever being more frightened in my life. All my hopes and dreams had come crashing down, and I felt my heart ache so deeply, so harshly, that could hardly bare it. It felt at times that I might simply split in two from the emotional pain of it all.
Despite all the uncertainty, I knew one thing for sure. The chances of recovery from ovarian cancer, let alone my chances of a long-term quality of life, were low, even with the solutions they were offering. I also knew that filling my body with radiation and chemicals was not an approach in line with how I had generally sought to live, in harmony, as much as is possible today, with the Earth.
So, instead, I decided to take a radically path. Drawing on the advice of a couple people with whom I had some trust and with the help of family and friends, I opted for a completely natural approach. This involved radically changing my diet, starting certain supplements, practising intermittent fasting, taking up Qi Gong (a therapeutic form of Tai Chi), doing body work, and eliminating stress from my life as much as possible.
In saying this, I want to pause and add, emphatically, that I am not saying those who opt for such solutions are wrong. Especially when faced with a life-or-death decision, such solutions can make sense. I know this first-hand, because I came perilously close to possibly having to make such decisions myself. They just weren't, in the end, the solutions that I realized I wanted to pursue.
The results were astounding! Rapidly, my CA 125 levels (a blood test that can be used as an indicator of possible ovarian cancer) began to plummet. The irregular masses in my body that they had detected, using a CT scan and ultrasounds, started to disappear. Most importantly, the pain, which had sent off the sirens that my body was not healthy, abated.
And another wonderful side effect took place in me too! Amazingly, I started to feel younger and more energetic!! The brain fog that I had been dealing with for much of my life largely lifted, and I was able to think more clearly than I had for years. It was, in short, like I had been given a new lease on life!!!
So…as I sat in the church pew, contemplating what I was going to do with the time I have left here, at least in my present body, it was not an entirely doom and gloom question. Yes, I was coming to grips that I was older. There was no denying this. AND at the very point in time when I might be considering slowing down, taking it easier, and doing less, I found myself instead actually CHALLENGING myself!
What new experiences did I want to experience now, at this point time? What did I feel I am capable of now that I feel so enlivened and rejuvenated? Where could this all take me? What choices might I have the courage to undertake and dreams might I follow that until then I had felt too frightened to pursue?
What is more, excitedly, where could this take my family? My community? And how might I respond with renewed vigour to all the devastation happening on this precious planet? A planet that by all reasonable accounts is dying, just like I seemed to be dying not too long ago? A planet that I and so many others care so deeply about, and upon which all of us, including the incredible diversity of species that share it with us, depend?
These are the sorts of questions I found myself asking that day, and continue to ask myself. Rather then provide you with some of my answers though, with that, I will end. For now. Except to say I have lots more to elaborate on this, soon….