Josh Haddon
The Funny Thing About Cancer, by Josh Haddon
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Your Life, Mood and Mindset…all Malleable.

Warning: I wrote this on my phone,  I am little passionate right now. Just walked in the door after a 8 hour day lol. Poured a drink, uploading this with no edits. Enjoy.

After being told by my oncologist 7 weeks ago that my recent tests showed I now had what they call ‘Incurable Metastatic Gastric Cancer’, I started seeing a Palliative Care doctor to help ease the dying process with fancy dancy drugs. Yay!

This new doctor told me that even my originally planned boring old Netflix-bingeing-book-writing-affair-in-order-getting end of life living (sic) would be filled with tough days. So taking that new information and understanding that his suggested ‘bed rest with light activity 30 minutes a day’ until I die was going to be no fun anyway, I decided to pull some cash together and travel to Europe. Tough days be damned! Some how, I assumed backpacking, hosteling and couch surfing while walking 5 to 10km a day sight seeing, was going to be pretty easy if I was mentally positive. It has not been.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m having a blast, but the nights are agony. Loads of aspiration/coughing up blood/bile due to not having my custom wedge built for those of us with no stomach/esophagus to sleep on a 30 degree incline. Also, restless nights of intense, new and unexplained pain which I just found out from a (Gazillion dollar lol…help Mom!) Xray is because I have more tumours that popped up and these ones are toying with my spine. (Paralysis could be around the corner.)

So, as you could tell from that last sentence…I’m currently typing this blog post on my phone from the 2nd Emergency Room I’ve visited in as many weeks. This one today is in Sheffield, England and if it wasn’t posted everywhere that this is actually the ‘Accident Department’, this ER looks just like your basic Canadian one. Only less crowded and filled with funnier sounding people.

Why am I hear? Well, other than the whole ‘I’m going to be dead in less than a year’ stock answer I like to give, truth is, I am deteriorating big time. Every day I can feel my body giving up. As much as I fuel my soul and heart with laughter, new experiences and zen – my body still gets in the way. I had finally had enough of the nightly agony and took a health day to visit the hospital instead of sight seeing.

Despite all of this, and I guess it would be easier to have my doctors and my mom around to help take care of me – I still haven’t a single regret. I’d much rather be sick and deteriorating on vacation than in Toronto watching Netflix.

So why did I decide to blog today?  While sitting in the waiting room I was speaking to an elderly couple, the gentlemen was in here for the umpteenth time because of complications from a prostate issue a year ago. Our conversation became very candid and as we swapped tales of illness and life, Martha teared up. She was sad but also thrilled with what I had decided to do. Her and John had planned their entire lives to travel the world when they retired. Him a banker, her a teacher – they had great pensions, savings accounts and even no mortgage for the last decade. Problem is, John retired last year at 62. Martha a year prior. John’s prostate issue started shortly before retirement by the sounds of it. The problems continue to today. So far they’ve been on one weekend holiday to Bath, England. That’s it. 40 years of hard work and planning. 40 hours of holiday. Wake up world!

Reading this, I’m sure you put two and two together why I chose today to share all of this. Martha and John are the exact example I use when I preach to whomever will listen, that although balance is important, so is living in the present. Living in the moment. Enjoying life each and every day instead of slaving away for a future that may never come. John and Martha are the epitome of the typical family who planned for a future, putting off today’s happiness for the promise of tomorrow’s, and it never came. In Martha’s tears and John’s reluctance to say much, I assume they both realize, their life long dream of travel will never come. And if it does, it will be scaled back, edited to suit health problems, limited mobility and old age. Instead of living their dreams weekly, monthly or yearly; they gambled it all on a the uncertainty tomorrow brings. Too many of us do this.

All we have for certain folks is today. This second. This moment. Right now. Spend the time you have making memories and sharing laughter – there isn’t a chance you’ll regret it on your death bed. I promise.

As I happened to choose a backpack and  couches/hostel beds as my death bed, I find solace in the fact that even if I wasn’t lucky enough to be globe trotting now, I would have died happy years ago. I don’t continually share how much fun I had in life to impress you, but rather to impress upon you, that life is so precious, so fragile and most importantly, yet too often forgotten – so malleable! So take yours and shape it into exactly what you want it to be. Start now. Today. Go! The only one stopping you is you.

 

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Comments (23)

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    kerry

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    Oooooh wise words thar rook my breath away..what can i say to you? I live in the moment as you do . So your giving our NHS a try i really do hope they are being kind to you and sorry about the hospital food,stay away from the fish its always like a sole of a shoe lol. Big hugs and love to you xx

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    kerry

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    Sheri

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    You are an inspiration to all! Im very sadden that you dont have as much time as you would like left..however you are making the best of the time you do have! You definitely should!! I am sooo happy that you have choosen the time you do have to do what you WANT! Its great to see even thru all this you stay positive and upbeat and realistic!! So that you know.. because of everything you have invited us to enjoy with you, every day for the rest of my life i will do one thing to make me smile and go out of my way to make AT LEAST one other person smile!! Josh i hope you are comfortable and in as little pain as possible. Thank you for bringing me along on your adventure!! I will cherish this always :-) <3

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    Sam

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    Hey Josh, I’m really not sure why I chose today to check out your site, but you just happened to blog! Second coincidence, I’m from Sheffield although living way further south now. Seems that you brought the cold weather with you! It ‘s a lovely part of the world, get out on to the moors if you get chance. If you venture south hit me up. Hope they gave you all the good meds they have buddy, sending you all the best wishes and love. You inspire me to live to the full every single day, I don’t take any of it for granted.
    Sam

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    Samantha

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    You’re fucking awesome! PMA!

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    Peter R

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    Josh been following your trip in Europe, I so wish that things could be different for you. I totally agree with your view point about taking the ball and going with it “today”. As you know had my own esophagus removed 5 years ago, and have realised that this year one item on my bucket list will not be possible in a year or two. I applied and got accepted as a trainee on a tall ship (3masted bark) for a 50 day voyage across the Atlantic down to Uruguay (next year). Docs say all is fine as long as I stay upright. With luck I got that item off the list. Might be in Toronto around Christmas, if so I will try and track you down.

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    Doug Bies

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    Hey Josh, keep on keeping on. You’re awesome!

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    Maria Johnson

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    I’m so proud of you Josh. You are in my prayers every day (as is your Mom). Your words a couldn’t be more true!!! I’m sending you love and a BIGGGGGG hugxoxo

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    Laura

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    Thank you for your candid updates Josh. I have been following you since I saw one of your Reddit posts, and I have felt so extremely sad to hear the news about your cancer. I don’t know what to say, it’s so awkward because the default responses (get well soon, I still hope for a miracle, etc) are not helpful or applicable. I do want you to know that you have inspired me in more ways than you can know. I even went and got my suspicious moles checked out, and I’ve started to do more “memory making” stuff with my family vs just slaving away for the unforseeable future. I know helping other people is about zero compensation for the loss of your health and your future, but I guess I’m just putting that out there just the same.

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    Debbie Kay

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    Love this post Josh. It’s so true. I hear all the time about people who die the year they retire. I wish I had some money to leave today and come join you for a pint. Enjoy the time you do feel ok and I will pray that those new fancy drugs take your pain away. xo

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    Tracy Morand

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    Ty for being my inspiration. Your words, adventures, and realism truly resonate in my soul. Maybe someday I will have the courage to really live. But, for now, I live vicariously through you. Ty friend. Blessings. <3

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    Christy

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    Josh, you hot mess!! Not a lot I can say, but doing exactly what most people wouldn’t and enjoying every minute that is possible!! I pray for those new fancy drugs to put you in a place you enjoy. Thanks for just being YOU!!

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    kerry

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    Josh i have to say that with all these offers of free drinks your be lucky yo find you way back on the plane nome lol Your in my prayers x

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    Kelley Welzel

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    I just want to say we love you Josh!! God Bless! You are in my thoughts daily and have been in my prayers!! Your words are heart felt and so true and know you have made a difference with many people my friend!! xo

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      joshwritesstuff

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      I truly hope my words have made a difference, doing my best. xx Kelley

      Reply

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    Kevin

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    I’ve been following your journey for the last few months. Glad to hear that you’re still living life the way you want to. You’re an inspiration. Best of luck.

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    helen

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    Just met you tonight in glasgow for 15 minutes in the snaffle bit. As suggested I’ve read some of your stuff and will read more. All i can say is wow. What a guy. X come visit again before you leave Scotland

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    Claudia

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    Hey Josh ,

    Well what can i say, aside from the obvious…. I couldn’t imagine you handling this ” situation ” (i don’t know how to refer to it ? , other than bad news ) any other way. As I’m sure most of the people who read this or follow and watch you’re video know, your quite a guy… It’s been a while since we have chatted and I’m glad that even though things are definitely different in our lives right now, you still making me (and many others) laugh from a million miles away…I got a call from Lance who is still Lance..lol ..and told me about the site, so i told him id have a look send a text see what else you’ve been up too….. Im sure you already know, but what a treat it’s been to read and watch all your thoughts …. You really are a funny and great guy, when you’re not being a giant pain…which you know you can be at times :) … Happy belated Merry Christmas and hope u have a great New Years …

    Thanks for all the laughs,
    Claudia… Aka drop my own Trails !!!

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      joshwritesstuff

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      Wow! Claudia. Blast from the past. Still can’t spell Trial properly, but hey, that’s okay.
      Thanks for the kind kind words. I hope you are well and all your dreams are coming true.
      xo.
      Josh

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        Claudia

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        I knew i should have re read my msg…but oh well. Life is going pretty good. Im getting married in 7 months, to Lexx’s best friend Aldo ( small world ) I’m sure you remember Lexx or at least his laugh…Trying for kids…Other than that, things are same old, same old..
        Working, traveling and saving. I have a number Lance gave me ill text you… Only bc I’m gonna ask some nosey question like who ya dating ?… Talk to you soon :)

        Claudia

        Reply

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Orders have been stopped until Josh's book is published.