Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer
Photo A MONTH ago, I felt that I was in good health, even robust health. At 81, I still swim a mile a day. But my luck has run out — a few weeks ago I learned that I have multiple metastases in the liver. Nine years ago it was discovered that I had a rare tumor of the eye, an ocular melanoma. Although the radiation and lasering to remove the tumor ultimately left me blind in that eye, only in very rare cases do such tumors metastasize. I feel grateful that I have been granted nine years of good health and productivity since the original diagnosis, but now I am face to face with dying. It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. “I now reckon upon a speedy dissolution,” he wrote. I have been lucky enough to live past 80, and the 15 years allotted to me beyond Hume’s three score and five have been equally rich in work and love. Here I depart from Hume. This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world.
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