Well, I have completed the first protocol: 31 doses of radiation and 6 chemo sessions, all of them accomplished with very minimal side effects. I have a slight rash on my back from the radiation, occasional tightness in my esophagus, but I have been able to eat with no problem, and some tiredness. All in all a very manageable experience.

One of the things I have been pondering are the cancer cells themselves. A normal cell in our body grows to a certain point and then maintains itself with homeostasis until it dies and is replaced by a new cell.  A cancer cell grows and doesn’t stop growing, and as it grows it infects other cells with the same scenario.  If I can eliminate these out of control cells from my body, I will live. If I can’t I will die. The deep irony is that if I win the cancer cells lose, but if the cancer cells win I die, and the cancer cells die with me as they lose their host.

So, if I win they lose, if they win , they lose. Such is the risk of being a parasite. What struck me is that if we do not grow continually in our lives we start to atrophy,  but all growth has its limits. Uncontrolled growth is always toxic whether it is addiction to alcohol or heroin or food or money or prestige or power. They all end up damaging us deeply. Alcohol and heroin eventually kill us. Food addiciton leads to obesity and often diabetes and heart attacks. An inordinate attachment to money can displace our relationship to friends and family.  Uncontrolled power invariably leads to abuse of others as well as the disintegration of one’s being.

Thus, growth has be be balanced, but while 10 t0 12,000 calories a day is a balance for Michael Phelps when he is training for his swimming, that enormous caloric intake for a somewhat sedentary person would indeed be toxic. Thus, balance is not a one size fits all, but rather must be aligned with the person. Babies grow very rapidly in their first few years, and then that growth to continue to be healthy must taper off.  So too, with all of us, balanced growth is a very personal matter that each of us has to learn, for we are all different despite the superficial similarities we share in structure and form. The differences are what count; they are what make us just who we are.

Growth is not just a physical issue. It is also mental, social, and spiritiual. All these areas of our life involve some kind of balanced growth, and it is a balance most of must learn by a degree of trial and error. But if we don’t grow, we stagnate,  and stagnation is one step on the way to a diminished life.

Right now, I am trying to eliminate the cancer from my body to restore myself to a healthful state of life. I may succeed or I may not. What I do know is that this battle is but one kind of battle we face in our lives. To live is to be immersed in ever new challenges, and a life well lived is a life where we continually are creating ourselves  as we always move on into an unknown future.  The irony here is that “the unknown” is the domain of possibility. There is no possibility in certainty.  It is only when we embrace risk and the unknown that we create.

What are you creating in your unknowns these days?

For more of my reflections on life, check out my E-book. Here’s the link to Amazon:

You can also find it on Nook, Sony and Barnes &nobel


About The Practical Philosopher

I am a retired Philosophy professor. I taught philosophy for 43 years, and I would like to share some of what I have found pursuing the fascinating journey of philosophy.
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15 Responses to Mortality

  1. kahunakeith says:

    Thank you for this contribution and your caring to look deeply to create deep insights.

    May I freely quote and use your materials to help others?

    I am in the process of fulfilling my mission, partially through the development of the website for The Life Management Alliance, which you may wish to google and look into.

    I look forward to your reply and, very much, your blogs.’

    Appreciatively yours,

    Keith Garrick

    Sent from Windows Mail

  2. ken340papd90 says:

    Cousin Billy….So gratefully happy that so far, all is going well for you. The prayers will continue and you will get better. I love the attitude. ken

  3. Richard Petrino says:

    Hi Bill, wonderful blog as always. I ask myself, “where does Bill come up with these ideas and thoughts”. You are a gifted thinker and writer, thinketh I. Your best friend, Rich

  4. wecooper says:

    The last two sentences are the punchline to this cosmic joke we call life: There is no possibility in certainty. It is only when we embrace risk and the unknown that we create.
    You are right. It is the sense of – or perhaps recognition of possibility that keeps us engaged, vibrant, vital, alive in its fullest sense.
    Thanks for the reminder, Bill.

  5. Anne says:

    “”the unknown” is the domain of possibility”
    What a fabulous phrase / concept.
    Thanks as always, Bill.
    Much love,

  6. abraudy says:

    “”the unknown” is the domain of possibility”
    What a fabulous phrase / concept.!
    Thanks as always, Bill.
    Much love,

  7. Barbara Baum says:

    Bill, i Admire The Way You Are Able To Uncover The Richness Of Life Hidden In The Deepest, DarkEst Experiences. Thank You For Sharing These Precious Jewels And Best Wishes For Your Complete Recovery.

  8. John McDevitt says:

    Hi Bill,

    Beautifully said. Love it. Thanks for sharing some of your creativity with us.



  9. Donna Costa says:

    “There is no possibility in certainty.” Indeed!

  10. Lauren Walkoczy says:

    Bill- I’m always praying for you. Stay strong. I loved reading your blog.
    xoxo Lauren

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