Chapter 12: Rediscovering the Sun, and the World, and Discovering the Meaning of Life

I: “Whatever Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stronger”*

 During my three hundred days of cancer treatment, I spent two hundred fifty days and nights in the
hospital.  I survived chemo, the intensive care unit, sepsis, GI bleeds, endoscopies, nasogastric tubes,
pancreatitis, shingles (twice), cardiomyopathy with mild heart failure, tumor lysis syndrome, surgery for central
line placements, spinal taps, and more than twenty bone marrow aspirates.  Spiritually and mentally, I died
multiple times.  I cried, prayed, and longed to change my past—even as a child, hindsight can show one how
they could have better served the world.  Eventually, I made it to the end of consolidation and the beginning of
maintenance: outpatient therapy.  When I left the hospital, the sun never felt so glorious, and I never heard
the breeze sing with such beauty in my ear as it whistled around me.  At home, I regained my strength and
began to do normal things again, yet this time I did everything with more passion.  Again, as the adage goes,
“Whatever does not kill me makes me stronger.”*   

II: The Things That Matter Most

 From my ordeal, I learned that when facing death, nothing matters more than your faith, the people you
touch, and those who have touched you.  This is much like the ideas surrounding Jesus: ideas such as love thy
neighbor as thyself, and love God with your all.  Such ideas are very simple, yet easily forgotten in our world of
winner-takes-all attitudes.  
 The only things that you will remember at the end of your life are your relationships, so love your family, your
friends, your fellows, and your god.  Moreover, stop each day to enjoy God’s beauty: Mother Nature.

III: Body, Mind, and Soul

 No matter how much our culture of impulse consumerism pressures us to have big houses, nice lawns, trendy
clothes, luxury cars, and wallets full of credit cards, it’s all fluff.  No matter how much our culture pressures us
to be thinner than any healthy person could be; or to be more muscular than any person could be without
steroids; or to have sex in our early teens, or in our preteen years; or to drink alcohol; or to smoke cigarettes;
and so forth; in the end, you are yourself—in part, your body—and you have live with it, so take care of it.  
Furthermore, in part, you are your mind, so be honest with yourself about whom you are.  You would do
yourself a favor to tell our culture to take its pressures to act certain ways and shove them.  Also, in part, you
are your soul—the breath of life—and in order to live life to its fullest you need to breathe, love those around
you, be there for the ones you love and bring closer the ones who love you.  If you embrace these things, then
you will die fulfilled and with no regrets.  I don’t care how much money you have, how many books you’ve
published, or how many people know your name, if you don’t live as I mentioned above, then on your deathbed
you will have regrets and long for more time—more time that you will not have.
Copyright 2011-2013 Terry O. Scott
On Both Sides of the Diagnosis, page 113
*  Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, trans. Duncan Large (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 5.