Ask Dr. Giles: How can I be dying when I feel so good?

Cheryl asks:

How can I be dying when I feel so good? Diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, Sept. 11 2009, have had Sir-Sphere treatment and many chemo treatments. Sometimes I feel ill, but generally I feel normal, happy and thankful. If I felt bad maybe I could come to grips with this disease that is killing me. Seriously I am thankful I do not have pain. But am I REALLY dying???

I am so happy you are feeling so well, Cheryl!  Medically, I don’t know how to explain your lack of pain/weakness/discomfort, but I would suggest you accept it as a gift and as an opportunity to live your life to the fullest extent possible.

You know, the truth is that we are all dying a little bit at a time–even if it is just of old age!  The key is to keep on living until we die.  Perhaps yours will be a case where you feel fine for a very long time and are therefore able to live a very full life even while you are receiving treatment for cholangiocarcinoma.  I hope that is so, Cheryl.  I very much hope that is so.