Brevity of Life

Ever since I stumbled across his guest column on Anderson Cooper’s 360 blog a few months ago, I’ve subscribed to Miles Levin’s personal blog on and have been following his journey.

Miles is a recent high school graduate who is facing a very deadly form of pediatric cancer, and it seems that, as of last week, he has run out of treatment options. He apparently only has 2-5 weeks left (unless some new treatment option appears, which seems unlikely), yet he faces it with a kind of calm that is both impressive and inspirational. From his July 26 post:

If I am nearing the end, I am trying to relax into it, to accept what is to be. I know that things are happening as they are supposed to happen, if not by divine destiny then by the overpowering forces of nature. I know this because I know that we have given this fight our all. We have left no stone unturned. I have fought my very hardest.

Now its up to the greater powers, whatever they may be. It seems a certainty that my path was not meant to be ordinary, but while everyone wants to feel special, I find myself alternating between feelings of gratitude for all that my life has been, with the feeling that it’s not asking too much to wish for more–to trade it all for a normal, obscure teenage existence in which I craved greater impact.

I’m getting quite a lesson in not getting what I want. Turns out it is one of the hardest we’ll ever have to learn. I’m not a child anymore; I can’t get away with throwing a tantrum. This is hard, and there’s no easy way around that.

It’s very humbling to read his words – every day many of us strive to get rewarded, to feel special, and he would trade it all just to buy back his life. I imagine many of us would share his feelings if we were in his position; and while we are fortunate to have our life and hopefully our health, we will likely continue to take it for granted until faced with a debilitating condition such as cancer. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with this approach, but perhaps every now and then we should stop, breathe, and remind ourselves to enjoy our life, even if only for a brief moment.


1 Comment

  1. August 19, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    […] 4:30 pm (Cancer, Blogging, Personal) I wrote about Miles a few weeks ago under the title “Brevity of Life,”after following his personal CarePage for the past few months. Miles had a rare form of […]

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