As many of the people who might read this blog already know, I was recently diagnosed as having Hodgkin’s Disease, or Hodgkin Lymphoma as they prefer to call it now. That was on the 19th of May, just one month ago. I have cancer. I don’t know any way to explain how that makes me feel. I’ve read blog posts of people in the same situation, with the same form of cancer in most cases, and I can only say that everyone finds it to be a somewhat different experience.
I’m not a “changed man”. I had no epiphany. I haven’t written out my last will and testament. I didn’t consult with a priest. I didn’t go to mass. I’m still an atheist.
Now watch this video
Yes, it is relevant to the rest of my blog post. If you don’t have four-and-a-half minutes to watch this video, then you’re pretty pathetic (or you have a pathetically slow Internet connect, or a pathetic device that won’t play Flash).
That video goes a long way toward describing how I feel. Things seem to be falling apart around me and inside of me, but it really doesn’t matter. Nothing has really changed. The little things change all the time, but I’m talking major changes here. I’m still the same foul-mouthed irascible prick you’ve all come to know and love. I’m quickly on my way to becoming a completely hairless ape, and I’m not currently working at my job, but things like that don’t matter much in the long run.
I love my wife very much (more and more all the time, it seems), and we’re approaching the twelfth anniversary of our wedding day. My cancer isn’t changing that. We both spend a lot of time on-line chatting with friends, playing games, etc. That hasn’t changed, either. Our daily routine is pretty much the same except for some prescriptions that I’m now taking, the fact that I have to go through a chemotherapy treatment every two weeks, and the unfortunate fact that I’m not working right now.
Cancer isn’t ruining my life. Without treatment, I would certainly be getting very close to death. That didn’t happen. I’m getting very good treatment that has a proven record of beating the hell out of Hodgkin’s Disease. How good a record? I’m very lucky in that it’s over ninety percent successful. The ABVD chemotherapy regimen has been used against Hodgkin’s for over thirty years, and there really isn’t anything that’s proven to be better at it in most cases.
That’s science, people. That’s not prayer. That’s not mumbo-jumbo whispered by some shaman as he contacts his spirit animals to engage their assistance in curing me. It’s a science-based technique that is going to help me beat this disease, and will leave me much healthier than I was the day I went to the emergency room because of it.
जय गुरुदेव ॐ (Jai Guru Deva Om)
What about that lyrics of “Across the Universe”? Do they have any special meaning or significance for me at the moment? I don’t think there is any thing more special about it now than there was before. I’ve always enjoyed the song, and I think this version is just as beautiful as the original. The line “Jai Guru deva” comes from John Lennon’s experience with Transcendental Meditation around the time he wrote the lyrics. It can have a variety of similar meanings, but loosely translates to “Glory to the shining remover of darkness.” The “Om” at the end isn’t a part of that, but simply a universal sound used in a lot of eastern meditation techniques.
Who or what would I think of as the “shining remover of darkness”? That’s an easy one: science. Science leads us to a better understanding of this wondrous Universe that we’re all a part of.
“Limitless undying love, Which shines around me like a million suns And calls me on and on across the universe” The undying love that’s shining and calling us: Do you know what that is? That’s life.
If you don’t feel that exhilaration, joy, and love as part of being alive, then I pity you because you’re missing out. Sure; not every minute is going to be like that. Life is not always pretty, but consider the alternative. Live life. Enjoy yourself. Have a good time. You might not always have that option, and you really don’t want to miss out on any of that.