Last year in September I wrote about a 47-year old professor, Randy Pausch, and his inspirational “Last Lecture” following his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.
If you want to know why death is such an important part of being human, then view the video on my previous post.
Back then he had wide publicity, from Good Morning America to Oprah, from ABC World News to The Wall Street Journal.
So now for an update.
Just two weeks ago on February 15th Randy passed a special milestone…
“It was August 15th, 2007, when I was told I likely had “three to six months of good health left.”
Today is six months from that day.
The doctors weren’t wrong; they always said that if the palliative chemo worked, I’d buy more time, but that it was a long shot. And the doctors have done a brilliant job of tweaking my regimen to help my odds. How much longer this will work is hard to know, but I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left, no matter how many or how few of them I get.”
Randy had planned to give the lecture and then move interstate with his wife and family to spend his remaining time creating memories for them.
It didn’t work out as planned.
Yes he has moved, and yes he has taken his family, and yes he has also created some great memories with them. His website has the pictures to prove it.
But he also hit upon a nerve with his “Last Lecture”. The video was viewed over a million times in the first month, and currently on Google video has 4994 comments, and almost a 5 star rating.
This has given Randy a different addition to his plan for living and dying.
In January a book that fleshes out details from The Last Lecture came out and you can find it here:
What next with this?
I don’t know.
But when I spent 3 months working in palliative care I liked the medical term for when cancer goes away.
Or, put another way, Re – Mission. Finding once again a purpose for life.
Who knows how much of what has happened with Randy is from the various treatments he has been trialed with, how much is his own personal health and fitness work, and how much is just sheer luck.
But if Randy does live on for a long time, then re-mission will be a very apt term.
Even more so because of Randy’s passion for Star Trek, and his childhood dream to be like Commander Kirk leading all those missions!
Could it really be that it is cancer will help him to achieve a childhood dream?
-Dr Martin Russell