Permission to Die


After my last surgery, in which we were able to remove but not replace the pancreatic stent, I was in a lot of pain. And the pain lasted about three days. And I was uncomfortable, and I was very introspective, more so than usual.

After getting the news that the tumour has completely blocked access back in to the pancreatic duct I started to feel like that was my last bastion of hope. And hope is the fuel that feeds my relentless drive to persevere through all the trials and tribulations.

And while recuperating from the pain I had some serious conversations with myself and with Tracey. We both knew this was a significant moment in the journey.  When Tracey asked how I felt about this situation I answered by saying “It feels like I’m still in the marathon but just had a fall. I kinda hurt my ankle and after feeling sorry for a bit I’m getting up, I can see the other runners still and I’m going to start chasing them again. And while it feels unfair I acknowledge that it is all part of the race I’m on and if I win it’s cause I gave it my all. So I’m going to give it all I got but sometimes the bumps in the road can get in the way of my pure will.”

Let me explain the landscape from my perspective as to why those three days were a bit of a hit on the hope front. You see if I now have a pancreatic challenge we have no solution to manage the issue without a stent in there to keep the pancreatic enzymes flowing. Once this happens there is no other recourse other than a major, highly complex surgical procedure called a whipple in which they remove the pancreas, duodenum, gall bladder and sometimes part of the stomach.

Tons of fun.

Now the surgery itself would be possible but in light of all the other tumour locations it just isn’t recommended to undergo such a strenuous endeavour. Also my existing health wouldn’t set me up for very good success in surviving the complexities of this adventure.

So, with this knowledge I gave myself permission to die last week. 

And to be clear, and to avoid getting a lot of calls, emails or texts of encouragement, I need to clarify that giving myself this permission isn’t the same as giving up. It’s purely an acknowledgement that if the pancreas has a flare up that I need to acknowledge that this is the final step in a wonderfully enlightening journey.  

There are no others courses of action.

It would finally be out of my control. 

So to repeat, I’m still living and I am planning on living for a lot longer. Do not panic and please do not reach out with catastrophic words of encouragement.

As a result of this permission I have gone into phase two of planning. It’s a pragmatic  response and one that I had been meaning to do for a while. We have amalgamated all our bank accounts into joint accounts and our wills, insurance and other documentation taken care of. I consider these to be phase one components.

Phase two is making sure things like social media accounts are managed, funeral plans and ceremony of life plans are put in place, subscriptions cancelled, my letters to the kids are finalized, etc. These are all things I need to do in order to remove stress from Tracey during a highly stressful time. The more I can get done the better for all. 

There is a certain simplicity to operating in this phase. It’s not really any different cause I’m still moving forward and living a full life, but it’s kinda like you are shedding some stress and being purposeful. I’m getting chores done and checking off lists, like a spring cleaning honey do list. 

And that provides a certain sense of peace.  

My last honey do list! Yes!!

Mission Accomplished

Surgery Success.