How Long Do We Have on This Planet?

29 Aug

We don’t know.  How lucky we don’t know. What an absolute blessing we don’t know.

Which reminds me of an experiment our Rabbi (ex-Californian, now retired) used on his high school pupils. He asked the kids to raise their hands if they were told they could choose their life expectancy (limited to the age of 99). All, yes all, the kids put up their hands and said they’d be happy to be in control of their life-span.

Then he asked them how they thought knowing your life expectancy would affect day-to-day life. They discussed the problem of motivation, quality of life, living perhaps with disability and approaching their own self-imposed “shelf-life”. On a re-run of the original vote, the hands raised dropped to a hand-full.

I’ve come to the conclusion that dealing with this illness, with all its many facets, basically falls into two categories. The physical challenge and the psychological paranoia.  The first category is something I have to deal with – although hands-on help from the family and the seemingly unending drugs-for all-ailments (except cure) are certainly a great help. But the second category, unfortunately, spills over into my immediate family. At the moment, this is the real challenge.   

I think I wrote of a wish I shared with a cousin a while ago – to be at my daughters’ weddings. “But you were at their Bat-mitzvahs,” he retorted.  “So?” I said. The point was that life has the habit of us always wanting more.

How often, behind very closed doors, we, in the immediate family discuss the differences between what will happen to me and those who survive me. As the rabbi said, lucky that life doesn’t give us the definitive batting order. The discussions are emotionally exhausting moments – but at the same time motivating. They motivate me, they motivate others and as I said in my last blog, I’ve even been moved to try and motivate people who I don’t know.

Reading my last blog I see that there’s a certain amount of repetition. Nothing new; only a few days wiser. And what have I learnt? That life continues to be full of surprises and hope. The discussion came up with my oncologist today.  How lucky that I have a dedicated doctor determined to do the best for me.  She told that there’s yet another trial in the pipe-line. This time by an Israeli Jerusalem based company called Silenseed. See their website on

The Silenseed siG12D LODER enables the targeting of an undrugable target. It’s a miniature biodegradable polymeric matrix that encompasses anti K-RASG12D siRNA drug, designed to release the drug regionally within a pancreatic tumor at a prolonged rate for a period of ~12-16 weeks. Clinical studies of its first target – pancreatic cancer – started at Hadassah, Tel Hashomer and Shaare Zedek medical centers in Israel last year. Today, of the 12 people treated world-wide, 9 are at Tel Hashomer. According to my oncologist they’re having encouraging results. By the way, the Israel Advanced Technologies site, is also worth a visit: It’s is a font of fascinating Israeli latest developments. One doesn’t have to wait for dark moments to let the sunshine of pride come through from their achievements.

We have to believe a solution is on the way. Yet again, I have to consider how cathartic this blog can be. Tomorrow, I might just embark on another “new Project”. As I’ve said before: Another dip into the savings – long may they both (life and the savings) last!  


2 Responses to “How Long Do We Have on This Planet?”

  1. Angie & Albert at 2:52 pm #

    I often wonder how differently we would live our lives if we were born with a ‘Sell By Date’.
    Something to ponder over Shabbat;
    Have a peaceful one.
    Love to you both.

  2. cancer du sein at 12:27 pm #

    Hello There. I found your weblog using msn. That is a very neatly written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I will definitely return.

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