To Live

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{***Click here to listen to Loren read this post: To Live***}

Apparently, it’s not okay to acknowledge that cancer may kill you. People get really angry when doctors hand out life expectancies based on statistics. In an earlier post, I confided that my own doctor had given me 1 to 3 years until the “big sleep” and many of you reacted strongly.

I’ve thought about this a lot in the last couple months. Turns out I liked being informed of my statistical odds. I appreciate the sense of urgency it provides. It reminds me that there’s a lot of life left to live.

And everything seems new. Hiking with Graham. Blogging with Hannah. Cooking with Britta. Susie and I have been inseparable since January—and have even felt (in some morbid way) that it’s been like dating again.

I’ve also learned to like the challenge of making future plans. For example, I love the art of bonsai. Growing a miniature version of an adult tree takes a great deal of patience and years of planning.

I fully intend to live to see my gardens grow.

Loren

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42 comments on “To Live
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  2. David Bowles says:

    Loren, my wife Janice (whom Susie met when both worked at Frogs so long ago!) and I just got this news about you. We want you to know that you are one of the kindest, nicest people we have ever met, and the same goes for Susie. We love the way you are facing this and helping others do the same…..and we send you, Susie and your children all our love. We will try and remember and use your wonderful words here as we race towards our own…..”expiration date” !!

    David

  3. Angelo says:

    Having been through near exactly what your family is experiencing, I also appreciated the statistical assessment that was given to us during my wife’s illness (Anaplastic Astrocytoma). I found it harder to deal with the comments that came from well meaning friends that stated, “I had an Aunt once who lived 30 years with a Brain Tumor until she got hit by a bus”. These accounts do not factor the reality of an AA nor the misunderstandings that surround brain tumors in general. Statistics are statistics and they are what they are for a reason. None of us knows how much time we have and truly we all hope, as I do for you and yours, that we will beat the statistics. I love the saying, “I am going to plan for” and not, “I am going to plan on”. I hope you enjoy the time you spend planning for a Bonsai garden.

  4. Glenda says:

    Loren, I just heard of your diagnosis last night. Interesting that we are on almost the same timeline. I was diagnosed with recurrent, stage 4 colon cancer in Dec and am going through chemo now. So much of what you are blogging about is exactly what I feel.
    To acknowledge that you may have limited time is not negative or morbid. In fact, we all have a limited time on this earth. I live each day knowing I will die but what’s important is how I LIVE!!! I may have a few years or I may have decades, who’s to say? The “silver lining” is that I know really understand what is important and how showing love to everyone in your life is the priority.
    LOVE YOUR LIFE, be happy, LAUGH, be positive, rid yourself of negative thoughts and people…Hey, guess what, you’ll even live longer because of it!
    I’m loving your attitude and will continue to follow your Nancarrow Project to see what I can do to help!
    Love and thoughts to your family, as I know it’s often harder for them than us!

    • Carolyn Esposito says:

      Glenda, what you said is so true for me too. Thank you for sharing. Your attitude is wonderful and one to strive for….

  5. karely351 says:

    Thank you :,] I simply want say THANK YOU ‘
    I’m 17 years old ‘ and I used to watch you every night on 5 Fox News. Your such an inspiration to everyone , to me ‘ to San Diego . It really broke my heart when I found out your diagnostic. I simply love how much you value life & how you value every single moment you have. Haha I’m literary crying right now. You know many things happen in life ‘ and all though I might not have any idea what your going through ‘ I understand is hard but please hold on as much as you can ‘ your such an amazing person ‘ I love all your blogs and you inspired me a lot . Just know that no matter what you have people in this world that you might never meet but that admire you and love you so much . Thank you for always being in my tv. At 10 haha ‘ you guys were the reason I watch the news haha :,)
    I hope you the best ‘ hope you see this
    And please do everything you want to do and don’t waist a single second ‘ cause as we all know life can be taken in a blink of an eye
    – god bless Karely Perez :]

  6. Nancy Fetterman says:

    Thank you for your writing. You remind me how precious life is and we all need to spend more time enjoying our garden. I planted a camelia bush after work yesterday and it is just lovely there. A person walking by called out to remark on my garden. I smiled and thought of you.

  7. Kristine Costa says:

    There are no words to describe how your blog has touched me. I am truly inspired by your courageous and positive outlook. Your posts are encouraging with such a honest perspective. I am looking forward to your future posts. My thoughts and prayer are with you and your beautiful family. A true reminder that everyday is a gift. Cherish every moment and always say I love you! God bless you!

  8. Daniel Oury says:

    Great post, Loren. Funny how those of us who are “well” (whatever the hell THAT means) are all living our lives and doing what we do and we think we’re 100%. None of us have even have a 100% chance of surviving the rest of the day. We’re all…ALL…somewhere between 0 and 99.

  9. Larry and Corinne says:

    What a great message and to hear it spoken by the big guy himself made it even more special. Loren, you’re in our thoughts every day and your message gives us pause to think about how we spend each waking hour, how we show others how much they mean to us and the importance of spending our precious time on things that really matter. We miss you and Susie on the block and at the gym. Stay strong and keep smiling.

  10. Keep up the positive attitude. We are all with you and that is power of a special kind.

    Pat

  11. Reese Brothers says:

    When I hear statistics, I think of baseball or a degree in business. 🙂 I understand the sense of urgency changing one’s perspective on life…but, in knowing you and your innate ability to see life in even the smallest of creatures, reassures me that you will live it to its fullest, regardless of your circumstances. You WILL grow your Bonsai and appreciate the intricate details of it. You WILL dance with the love of your life, Susie on the beautiful sands of your favorite beach. You WILL continue to spend time with the kids, hiking new mountains with Graham, writing more than blogs with Hannah, and whipping up some awesome new dishes with Britta! Loren, life as you know it has indeed changed; but what a blessing the blob has brought with it, knowing how much you are loved and admired. When I think of humility, I think of you…and of course, your cobalt blue nails! Peace out brother!

  12. Love this Loren, your voice is so strong and you are appreciating every moment, more people need to open their eyes to the joy around them! Love to see your Bonsai project!

  13. My late daughter, Laura Morefield, planted Arapaho Blackberries, which take several years to bear fruit. Everyone told her she’d never taste them, but she did. Thanks for the column.

  14. Andy Casillas Hein says:

    Oh hell yes give me an “informed” timeline. Then I’ll give you mine. I know all about when bills are due, birthdays are coming yadda yadda, why not this? I won’t be ticking off the days but, like you, making the most of them. Dating Susie is a great way to spend them by the way, and with the kids. Then laugh as the third year turns into the fourth and more. Snip those leaves, aim those limbs toward the sky like you are with your life. Love.

  15. monica way says:

    Not only are you inspriring…you say it , you just say it. God bless. I get the feeling that youve always had gratitude for all you have.

  16. Louise Ganus says:

    Amen Brother!
    We plan catch and release fishing adventures in June and September in the Midwest. Can’t wait to check out that Bonsai garden in 2025! Go Team!!
    Your Voice-Box Man

  17. Marti Wilmot says:

    You are sunshine, life and an inspiration! – I am sending this entry to my husband – our positive energy to you and your family……always

  18. Joanne Monia says:

    Loren – you are absolutely amazing….every blog gets better and better…..It’s like a fix and I am waiting for the next blog to come….your wonderful stories help me keep my life in perspective…..keep making memories with your beautiful family……you can do this no problem….and remember…..DSB BABY…..DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’! 🙂 ❤

  19. Randy Baker says:

    I just wrote a long thoughtful reply with mucho encouragement and it just rang hollow so I deleted it. So let me celebrate your decision to keep it real with my favorite Edward Abbey poem. I think this is something you will find power and comfort in as you move very deliberately and lovingly through your life.

    “Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you ­beyond the next turning of the canyon walls. Edward Abbey

  20. My wife has been told she has one hour to live, so if someone may want to say goodbye they need to come now. That was two years ago. She also has Bonsai , they r both doing well. The point is we r on our own time . I have had the pleasure of meeting u many years ago and pray for u and yours each day. Walter

  21. Nancy says:

    wonderful that you’re generously sharing your insights, and spirit! not one who enjoys surprises, I think I would also appreciate some sort of framework from experienced Doctors in the know. interesting that many people react as if it’s a bad thing. anyway, you are a San Diego treasure – countless people continue to love what you do for our community. if we’re lucky, you’ll continue blogging about your new journey (and thank you!).

  22. Susan says:

    Loren, Today was a final goodbye to an amazing 29 year old; Bridget Spence. Please watch this video of her speaking at the SGK National Conference last year.

    You can also read her blog: http://www.mybiggirlpants.blogspot.com

    She “LIVED” with cancer in a courageous way. Bridget was very open about her diagnosis and treatment. At the same time she shared her daily joys and struggles as well as her future plans. I won’t write more here…please read her story. You will be inspired – your story reminds me of her!!

    • Carolyn Esposito says:

      What a beautiful story and such a strong young woman…yes, she is truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing Bridget’s story.

  23. Cathy Cook says:

    I think it is more than okay to acknowledge that cancer may indeed kill you…………and anyone who has been given an “expiration date” who goes on to newly appreciate things that we may take for granted…….it’s all good. We are ALL dying, some faster/slower than others……………..be it by cancer, a horrific accident, or (fill in the blank). MOST people need a wake up call, as we skate through every day unappreciative, oblivious……….self-serving and forgetting how wonderful it is to be on this planet. I love your attitude, and I hope you do grow to reap what you sow and sow and sow………….

  24. Janis Pollard says:

    GOOD, You’d better! Live, that is.
    Nothing like a little gratitude to change your outlook, huh?
    I know we don’t share the same spiritual beliefs, and that’s okay, (unless you die…I wish you Heaven), but there is a scripture in Judges where Jesus says, “Peace to you. Don’t be afraid, for you will not die.” …I am prayerfully applying that to you, praying that you be gifted with those same words from the One who gave us life in the first place. Not preaching, just hoping you stick around, but for however long you’re here, I am happy that you have new eyes for the journey. ❤

  25. I have a niece who has been given several expiration dates. She ignored them all. She wasn’t supposed to live past 5, then 8, then 12… she graduates from college this spring… may you live to not only see your garden grown, but to get tired of pruning it! DAF

  26. Fred says:

    Your blogs are so amazing and you provide such inspiration. Our 31 year old son only had 3 years to live when disgnosed with cystic fibrosis at 3 months of age. What an amazing and joyful journey we have had together and that is my prayer for you and your family.

  27. Judy Ito says:

    Loren,
    Every time I hear that the doctors have given you 1 to 3 years it is upsetting to hear. They told Brian and I that his mother had 3 to 6 months to live and she lived an amazing life for 3 more years and she did not waste one day of it. She was the most amazing woman I have ever known and will forever cherish the time I spent with her. I believe that if we live life tthinking hat there is an expiration date is not always a bad thing. As you said, you find yourself grateful for everyday and every moment given to you. I find myself being so generous with my heart and never taking my loved ones for granted. I tell Ryan to live life to the fullest and to not let good times and any life experience go by that you can share with with friends and family pass him by. Doesn’t feel like yesterday when we were in our twenties, our thirties and in a blink of an eye here we are in our fifties. I ask myself what would I do if I was told I had an expiration date and I think I would just tavel. think the lesson here is what is wrong with living life as if you had an expiration date. You may find happiness again.

  28. Jackie Owens says:

    Hi Loren.Love all of your blogs. Planning for the future is using each day to the fullest, oh if we all would do that instead of wasting so much time doing nothing. If we all knew we had only 1-3 years to live I’ll bet we would all react differently than we are doing without a doctors words. We don’t know if we have 1=3 years, each day is a blessing and we could be taken tomorrow without any warning. There is no guarantee of our life expectancy, we take it for granted that we will live to a ripe old age. if we only knew what God had in store for us, maybe we would be kinder to those that we meet on a daily basis Keep working on those bonsai Loren, they need your loving care. Jackie

  29. Sofia says:

    You are filled with new life! Its contagious. Thank You

  30. Joyce DiSanto says:

    When you know you could lose someone you appreciate them more. I miss you on TV but enjoy the fact that I can still hear your wisdom through your bloggings You are in my prayers and hope you get to have many blessed years of life left. You are an inspiration indeed..Joy

  31. linea says:

    Inspirational as always and food for thought..each day is special in it’s own unique way..my tillandsia were blooming when I came into the garden this morning..a beautiful way to start the day…small gratitude’s abound if you open your eyes and heart…and BTW you will live to see that Bonsai grown into an old plant………….

  32. Dawn says:

    You know Loren, I love your attitude, especially dating your wife. Enjoying your kids. Music, books, laughter, love, sunshine, playing in the dirt and reminding yourself we should all be living on this spinning globe the same way. With appreciation for each and every day and ”not sweating the small things for they are all small things”. Love the Bonsai

    Hugs

    Dawn aka Yosemitedawn

  33. Anonymous says:

    Love your blog. I think maybe people just want to offer encouragement. If that is your bonsai, you are certainly talented!

  34. Anonymous says:

    I look forward to your blog’s Loren, as I wonder what lesson and inspiration I’ll be getting from you. That’s your energy we are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy. I hope you are getting it right back and more.

  35. mikaele48 says:

    “Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dyin’…”
    – Tim McGraw

    • Lynn Mc says:

      Great song with a great message. I’m sure this is exactly how Loren feels and is these days. Thanks for sharing, and I’m not a country music lover!

  36. magkeep2 says:

    I love your energy Loren. It is so good to hear of your future plans and how everyday is a blessing with your family. Everyone with any disease or just life, should be living life like this. I am wishing I had this option with my hubby. I am always looking forward to your blogging with Hanna.

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