Dr. Randy Pausch is a Computer Science professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, where he has taught for about ten years. Last month he gave a lecture, more than an hour long, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." This week, he reprised a ten-minute version on Oprah, of all places.
Why? Well, Dr. Pausch is not quite ten years older than me, and like me, he has metastatic cancer, diagnosed about four months before my colorectal tumour. Unlike me, his doctors have told him with fair certainty that his pancreatic cancer is going to kill him soon, probably within months. So here's his talk (the Google Video preview picture is not him, by the way, but one of the people introducing him):
He's not depressing or morose. In fact, Dr. Pausch is in good shape, and quite funny. For instance, early on in the talk, making it clear that his lecture was not about cancer, he says, "If you have any herbal supplements or remedies, please stay away from me," and while warning that he won't talk about spirituality and religion, he does reveal that, "I have experienced a deathbed conversion: I just bought a Macintosh."
I think Dr. Pausch and I share a similar attitude to this disease. There's no point in blame or guilt. There's plenty of sorrow to go round, so there's no need to wallow: it will come without that effort. On his own website he has written:
"Winning" means buying time; I will always hold out hope that a miracle cure is developed that would give me a normal life span, but right now we're fighting to stay alive a few more months at a time.
To paraphrase his approach: whatever time we have left, let's have some fun. I can go with that.
Thanks to Jeb for the link.