Last week, I read a post on TuDiabetes that someone posted about the video I Choose To Live on YouTube. Although this post is inspired by that video, it is not actually about the video. If you are interested in hearing the video, it is on the right sidebar of my blog and I will also embed it at the bottom of this post. It is well worth the 5 minutes that it will take to listen to it!
“I choose to live. It won’t be easy, but I will make it in the end. And if I make it, I know everybody can.”
The above was a line from the song that I thought was important to share here. There was another post on TuDiabetes that I read Saturday morning that was the complete opposite of “I Choose to Live.” Reading that post is what made me decide to use “I Choose to Live” as the title for today’s blog.
When I was first diagnosed, I struggled with it like other people did. I cried. I was upset. But I got over that. I wasn’t given a choice in the matter, so if I wanted to live, which I did, I had to deal with it. I have faced some of the same struggles other people did – losing insurance, having to worry about how to pay for insulin, health issues that include retinopathy, neuropathy, gastroparesis and a struggle to save my leg. Life hasn’t always been easy, but I am alive and I would not trade that for anything.
I have a very good friend, Dave, who has been struggling with cancer. Dave and I worked together at one time and we have continued to stay in touch. When I was going thru my foot struggles, he always seemed to find the right things to say to make me feel better. When I first met Dave, I found out that he had leukemia but it was in remission. He had also lost his wife to cancer. About the same time that my foot was infected, Dave’s leukemia made a recurrence and he had to start treatments for that again. I guess you can say that we shared our war stories. He thought what I was dealing with was worse than what he was dealing with and I thought what he was going thru was worse than what I was dealing with. Since then, Dave has had his ups and downs with the leukemia.
On August 22nd, Dave sent an email to all his friends to let them know what was going on. I wanted to share part of that email here:
She did not give many project of time but told me previously that if this new chemotherapy did not work, she would estimate 3 to 6 months so with the chemotherapy being canceled, I am just not sure where I stand at this point in time but I can assure you that I am getting weaker as the days go by.
I am not planning on a funeral but rather a celebration of life. My favorite hymn is Oh Jesus I Have Promised To Serve Thee To The End. I have made that promise and I intend on keeping it. We will take each day, one day at a time.
Dave sent that email about 7:30 that evening but I had to wait until the next morning to answer him. I knew that was coming, but it was still very hard to read his email and even harder to reply to it. I know that Dave would gladly trade his cancer in for diabetes even if that included neuropathy or losing a leg. Dave doesn’t have the option of taking shots to keep him alive. I do. I choose to live. Dave would like that choice also, but it is not a choice that he gets to make.
Here is the email that I sent to Dave the next morning:
I know that I am not the only one that was in tears after reading your email – you are a very special person. I just want you to know that I am very glad that you came into my life. Your friendship means a lot to me and you are not someone that I will ever forget. I know that when you are up in heaven, if you can find a way to play pranks on your friends, you will be doing it to let us know that you are still with us and you won’t have to use a computer anymore to do that!
I don’t know if I ever told you because that seems like a lifetime ago, but when I was going thru my foot infection and all that stuff, you really inspired me to keep going. You always knew the right words to say. You were my rock and you were one of the people that helped get me thru all that.
I hope that you are able to get one of those electric carts – they can be a lot of fun and you would really enjoy them. I only used them when I went to the grocery store. One time, I almost ran over a couple nuns in WallyWorld – luckily for me, they were nuns with a sense of humor.
I can imagine that this is very hard on Barb. I only met her once when you were sick & she came into Zimmermans to pick-up your paycheck, but I feel like I know her from all the times you have talked about her. Please let her know that both of you are in my prayers and if she ever needs someone to talk to, I will be there for her – I might not always know the right words to say, but I am a good listener.
Thank you for being my friend and I wish I could be there to tell you that in person. I will miss you but I will never forget you!
I Choose to Live, in honor of my friend Dave
I Choose to Live Video