Monday, December 29, 2008

More time

There's a guy who used to play volleyball with my beach group--he was very good, better than pretty much anyone else who plays with us. (I am decidedly average, myself.) Unlike many people who give unwanted or unhelpful advice, he was good at pinpointing how someone could play better. One of his favorite comments was, "You have more time than you think you have."

He said it when a hard serve came over the net and someone (like me) spazzed toward it awkwardly, flailing and then shanking the ball far out of bounds. He said it when a low set sailed toward a post and someone (like me) jabbed at it, panicking, and hit the ball right into the net. He was always right, and it's one of the most helpful pieces of advice I've gotten. The better players have a lovely economy of motion, like Neo in The Matrix--realizing they have enough time to do what they need to do and do it calmly, which makes everything go better.

So why this volleyball reverie on a cancer blog? Because I'm going to assert that it's true for cancer, too: You have more time than you think you have. True as a philosophical statement, true on many levels. You have more time to make decisions in the very beginning--it's not necessary to rush into surgery in 3 days and rush into treatment after that. It's OK to take the time to make the decisions well. You may have more time in life than your diagnosis suggests, who knows; my aunt Sylvia lived for 11 years past her prognosis of 2. My grandma, who died of lung cancer, outlived her prognosis by a couple of years.

Perhaps most important, though, you have more time than you think you do right now. Cancer is easy to obsess over, but think of all the time it claims that way--time it takes away from living life.

It's a good mantra in general, I think. You have more time than you think you do.


Anonymous said...


laurie said...

It's a very, very good mantra. There is more time - we all just need to take deep breaths and be able to see that time and use it.

Anonymous said...

I played with PA today, so this will be on Seinfeld tomorrow!