'I'll leave this world fighting to enjoy every minute. Here's how'

"I'll be sitting on the sundeck, drinking my wine, smoking my cigarettes and, hopefully, blogging to anyone who will read it!"

I actually don’t resonate with the term ‘battling’. I prefer ‘lucky’!

I’ve been ‘lucky’ enough to survive treatment-resistant severe clinical depression (twice), lymphoma (once), breast cancer (twice), sleep apnoea (ongoing), COPD (ongoing) and three bulging discs and a compressed nerve in my lower back (and that really is a pain in the arse!) BUT I’m still here, telling my story, and looking forward to 2018! Why? Because I CAN!

Let’s face it, at this time of our lives, we have to accept that we are on the downhill run but it can be one hell of a ride! And, we are going to die of something – preferably in our sleep, peacefully and without pain.  It won’t always be the case for many of us but I’m going to do my best to ensure it will happen for me.

I have no intention of ending my days in an aged care facility, dependent on others to feed me, clean me etc. Not this black duck! Voluntary euthanasia can’t come soon enough for me (I’m in Queensland, Australia). If it doesn’t, I’ll know when it’s my time to depart this mortal coil.  I’ve made my wishes clear to my sons, to my power of attorney and to the rest of my family.

But, let’s not focus on that. It’s a bloody dreary topic. 

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My physical health has improved, my mental and emotional health has improved and I’m going to make the most of it whilst it lasts! (Yes, I can’t do much about the ‘chronic shit’ but I can manage it).  So in May 2018, I’m off on my trip of a lifetime. My very little pension fund won’t be happy but I’m off to Brussels for six days (I have friends there) and then catching a train to Amsterdam to join a seven-night/eight-day Scenic Cruise down the Rhine! 

I’m doing it for the experience. Since I emigrated from the UK in 1965, I haven’t been any further than bloody Fiji and New Zealand! I don’t ‘need’ to traipse through cathedrals, museums, or castles – I’ll be sitting on the sundeck, drinking my wine, smoking my cigarettes and, hopefully, blogging to anyone who will read it! (That’s if I can get a loan of a laptop or iPad with a keyboard attachment).

Mind you, I’m excited, terrified and anxious all at once but that’s how I am going to deal with my battle!  I’m under no illusion that the cancer could return, or, my biggest fear, another episode of treatment-resistant, severe clinical depression could strike BUT I’m not hanging around waiting for it to happen.  Seize the day!

Do you have the same attitude to living, and the end of life, as Sue? How do you wage battle against health challenges (physical and mental)? How would you advise others in the same situation?