But at some point, given life is a terminal condition anyway, you have to accept that “the beast,” whatever it is in your case, is winning. I know that for myself. I have had a long remission with leukemia. But I know it could come back and even newer drugs might not “win.” I am thankful for the success treatment has had for so long. And I am sure Steve Jobs is thankful his diagnosis several years ago didn’t lead to his demise right then. We thank him, too, for iPhones and iPads and several other wonderful gizmos he has in the works that will blossom in the future.
Knowing when to call it quits – not accepting death – but accepting disability or a need to spend time differently – is a hard part of being a patient, it stinks. But it is reality. There comes a time when doctors don’t have a magic pill, or a curative surgery. There’s no guru who has a magic potion or energy tool from another continent. It’s mortality staring you in the face.
One of my most vivid memories is of my dear father, Max Schorr. At 92 he was still practicing law in Palm Beach, Florida after a long career before that in New York City. He had survived pre-cancerous polyps in his colon, an irregular heartbeat, heart attacks and prostate cancer. But then the prostate cancer was getting the better of him. He was hospitalized and in intensive care. The drugs weren’t working and his old friend, his primary care doctor, told him extraordinary measures would only add a few weeks to his life. He’d probably never get out of the hospital. My wise Dad responded, “Then let me go.” Within minutes the tubes came out, the monitors went away and for a day and a half Max said his good byes to many visitors. He faded away with grace and acceptance that he had lived well and long.
Steve Jobs is much younger and maybe a much tougher businessman. And I could be all wrong as to the trajectory of his illness now. But whether it’s for him, or me, or you, sometimes changing course and calling it quits as to our normal daily life is just the way it is.
I welcome your comments and wish Steve Jobs and you the best of health!
*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*