Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Delaying cancer death...

It would appear that terminally ill cancer patients probably can't hold on just a few more days or weeks in order to see an important event, like a holiday, a birthday, a wedding, or the birth of a child. Despite all the anecdotes, I had always sort of suspected that this phenomenon was probably exaggerated or nonexistent, but now there's some hard evidence that it probably is. Investigators at The Ohio State University (BTW, that's its proper name--take it from someone who lived in Ohio for eight years, don't leave out the "The" with a capital "T") looked at 300,000 cancer deaths over 12 years and were unable to find evidence of unusually high death rates around birthdays, Christmas, and Thanksgiving.

Money quote from Dr. Donn Young, one of the investigators:

I think the most important thing for all of us to take away from this is the notion of attending to what is important.

In other words, don't put off what is meaningful in life. Do it now, before it is too late.

Amen. No doubt we'd like to believe that we have at least a little control over our own death and might be able to hold it off a little while by sheer force of will, but the sad truth is that we probably do not.

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