Having been asked by one of my faithful readers - hi, Nancy! - I feel obligated to address the subject of how a person with terminal illness finds the strength to fight on.
And I'd have to answer that I really don't know. Not yet, anyway.
The fact is that I've had one fairly bad spell, and that spell wasn't anywhere near as bad as it's going to get, or as bad as other folks currently have to put up with (greetings here to my dear sister-in-arms, you know who you are), so I'm not in the position to say whether I will fight well - whatever 'well' might be - or for how long, or even when that fight might actually be truly engaged.
My current state is rather like that point we've all experienced where we can feel a really big sneeze coming on; it's not comfortable, but it's not a sneeze yet. And although we know for a certainty that it's coming (unless it's one of those rare ones that suddenly and inexplicably disappears just before we explode), we don't know for sure just exactly how bad it's going to be. Because we Aren't There Yet.
Here's what I can say: right now, I fight on because there are Bad Days, but there are also Better Days. I've been lucky the last few months, because there have been more Better Days than Bad. More recently, I've been getting... well, not many Bad Days, but more Less Than Better Days, so that's a bit discouraging. But still, there's the Better Days to look forward to, and the Less Than Better Days often have their moments. There's not much strength necessary to keep me 'fighting' right now; I enjoy life more often than not.
Some day I will arrive at the point where there will be Bad Days, and few - or perhaps no - Better Days (or even Less Than Better Days), to look forward to. I am told by health professionals that it is quite possible that by then I won't be able to think clearly enough to be able to make choices about fighting or not fighting. But if I can think in those terms, I know that my family would support whatever choice I were to make. They love me, and they wouldn't force me to suffer needlessly in order to hang on to my body for a few extra days or weeks.
I suspect that at that point my choices may be more influenced by practical matters. Unfortunately. If I were to voluntarily give up the fight, that might cause problems with the annuity from my life insurance policy, which will be necessary for my immediate family... because they will be left with the financial responsibility for the costs of my 'palliative care' during those last weeks/months and for funeral costs, etc, afterward. If there were reasonable Death With Dignity laws in MN, my choices might be different, I don't know. But we are unlikely to get there in the time I have left.**
So in the end, I may have no choice but to marshal the strength fight, depending on how one defines 'strength' and how one defines 'fight'. If we are given no choice, how can we measure the virtue in continuing down the path that fate and man's law has chosen for us?
**Why is it that if I refused to ease my cat's suffering were *she* to die a long and agonizing death via incurable cancer, I would be considered cruel - but if I wanted to ease my own suffering of a similar fate, I could be punished both legally and financially, and render my loved ones open to prosecution and even incarceration?