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  • “My uncle has one of the worst Cancers,” my daughter – in – law sobbed,” It is in his Pancreas. He will die soon!”
    My daughter – in – law never met her father and her uncle became like her Dad.

    The uncle, José, was going with his whole family to Mexico – City the following day, to the big, famous Cancer – Center, to see if anything could be done to prolong his life. They would open him up and look at the invading tumor. He also had a heart condition and it was not clear if his heart would be able to beat through the operation.

    José is a Chilenean, who fled to Mexico during Pinochet – years, where he created a new life for himself, his wife and two grown children.

    The day before José and his family left for the operation we invited them to a meal. We had never before done that. Yes: we did it – and my husband is a great cook – because we all imagined this would be José´s last family – meal. He enjoyed the attention. We talked well. He did not seem depressed or controlled himself incredibly well. No, he did not believe in God or anything after death, but he wanted to die consciously. That was the only mention of his predicament. Otherwise we talked about Chile and Mexico and movies.

    He mentioned that they would take all his documents with them, in case he would not last through his operation, everything he said was very matter – of – factly.
    Before leaving that afternoon, José also shared with us that a friend had visited him, a woman, who had turned into a fervent Christian. “Let us pray together!” she had offered. José loved that friend, but he declined. “I appreciate your efforts,” he had answered,” But this is not for me, God and prayer!”

    In the Cancer Center in Mexico – City they opened him up and sew him together. The tumor had spread from part of the Pancreas to the intestine, no way to operate. He survived the procedure. When José and his wife asked their oncologist what he would do, if he found himself in the same situation, the doctor knocked on his wooden desk and answered, “I hope that I will never find myself in your situation!”

    José decided to try Chemotherapy even though many people predicted that Chemo would just diminish his life´s quality.

    He had to be on a strict diet, no cigars anymore, no whisky. He obeyed, he let go, and he kept working in his job. His work seemed to be the strongest pillar.

    A few months later doctors opened him up again, the tumor was still not operable, but had kind of “dried out”.

    José went to Chemo every 6 months.

    José has not died so far, he was 70 years old last summer and recently retired. He has passed 4 Chemotherapy – cycles and his tumor is nearly gone. In the Cancer Center he is considered a miracle.

    But that meal we offered him two years ago, we all looked at him and considered him already dead, we all killed him in our minds while he was still alive!

    I have observed since then how we tend to do that: we kill a person with a severe diagnose before he or she dies.

    This is terrible.

    Nobody dies until he or she dies.

    And not even the best doctor can predict when that will be.

    While one person with a predicament like José´s can survive for a very long time, another one might just fall down dead without any previous diagnose as happened to the 33 - year - old son of a friend a week ago ( he did survive though).

    Let us not kill others before they really die!

    Let us enjoy the FIESTA DE LA VIDA - the fiesta of life - TODAY!
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Fiesta en Oaxaca, Photography by Kiki
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