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Thursday, April 10, 2008

What would you do if you only had 5 years left to live?

This philosophical moment is brought to you by my term life insurance policy. What would you plan if you had only 5 years left to live? What would you do differently, or what would you stick to doing the same way?

I have started reading (really reading) my insurance policies when I get the new updates, and was taken aback yesterday when I read that I could collect benefits from my life insurance policy since I have been diagnosed with cancer. I am glad that they make this available, and I might even use it later in life, if my version of ACC is as sneaky as others have experienced and returns, causing additional medical bills to mount up, but reading it took my breath away. I had forgotten (thankfully) how life-ending it felt to be told that I had cancer - and seeing that rider on my policy brought it back to me in a rush, as if it was June 30, 2006 all over again. I have no idea what the future holds - the cancer may come back soon, or years from now, or I could die from a completely different reason, but I am optimistic that the world will be hearing from the Cheeky Librarian for quite a while longer. On one level, I really think we have just today to make any difference - we might not be here tomorrow. The life projection figures for ACC are really good for 5 years, kind of slip at 10 years, and really not good after that. But the projections are not recipes to live a life by. In the past, I generally planned 10 years at a time, so planning 5 years at a time at this point in my life isn't much of a change (hey, I am middle aged, after all!).

I still hold on to the plan to head to the beach and be with family and friends if they find any other tumors - I am a realist, and would like to try a hedonistic lifestyle if I get the chance. But I am so glad I had the strength to return to work twice to a job I feel makes a difference in this world. If I had decided to cash in on the life insurance, and stay away from work, I wouldn't have met the people I have (hopefully) helped access the research information they need to become the health professional researchers and clinicians of tomorrow (maybe saving my own life in the future?). I wouldn't have participated as a team member in some of the exciting projects we have going at the medical library, and with my colleagues in the library profession (yes Virginia, librarians have exciting careers - consider becoming one). If I hadn't returned to work after the surgeons did that initial job on my cheek, the radiation series done to eliminate any microscopic cancer, or after the pearl removal in November, I wouldn't have been able to see my kids participate in some of the things they have done in the months since those medical treatments. (The Euro/US dollar exchange rate hasn't helped me, but we still have number one daughter overseas, having the kind of experience I had always wished for both kids!) Face it - I had the chance to curl up like a Cheeto in the middle of my floor with the diagnosis and treatment for cancer, but I didn't/couldn't/wouldn't consider it. Thanks to the support of my caregivers, my family, my friends, all cheering me on in their various ways, it was not an option that was in my mind (except during the darkest days). I would rather be paying for a Golden Scion than living like a Cheeto, and I thank everyone that has helped me stick to that plan.


whitneydt said...

"I had the chance to curl up like a Cheeto in the middle of my floor with the diagnosis and treatment for cancer, but I didn't/couldn't/wouldn't consider it.

And this is why I call you Super Woman!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Teri for continuing to offer this educational site. Your posts are always so very good.

We here in Atlanta remain on the lookout for that CHEEKY1 Golden Scion.

Who links to my website?