I know. 3 big words on a Monday morning can be a bit early….

When discussing medical treatments for our love ones, it can be sensitive. You know why? One word – Guilt.

We don’t have to be Buddhists to know that all of us will get old, get sick, and die one day. But we get all fluster up and emotional when we discover we or our love ones have contracted a “serious” illness.


This wake-up call makes us guilty for the life we have lived up till now. Always making plans but never acting on them… It also forces us to re-examine the priorities in our lives; now that you are conscious of your mortality for the first time. No, we are not forever young. 

Loved ones

We know that early detection of stage 1 cancer is more likely to be treatable than stage 4 terminal stage. Yet we act and behave in a way that focuses on turning a blind eye to early signs… (My next post will elaborate more on this selective focus)

We let things drag and when the truth hits, we lash it out on everyone else. How doctors are blood suckers… Big daddy heartless… Why private hospital better because can get same day appointment or next day surgery… No long waiting like in public hospitals… We start throwing money at the problem…. As if the above will help when we discover we have stage 4 terminal cancer….Guilt gets in the way of rationality… 

Deep down we know if the cancer was discovered earlier at stage 1 or 2, waiting 6 months for a medical appointment or surgery ain’t going to make things worse. We can look on the bright side since it’s now not a medical emergency!?

You die; I die; we all die

This post from CW provides a real life example:

You die. I die. Doctors also die???

Of course to be able to make such a decision may depend highly on our spirituality, how we have lived our lives till now, and most importantly, the wisdom to make choices.

Yes. There are choices. And its not all about curative treatments.

Prayer and Zen

Serenity prayer for the spiritual:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 

The courage to change the things I can, 

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Alternatively, there’s this Western quotation that I find quite Zen:

For every ailment under the sun, 

There is a remedy, or there is none, 

If there be one, try to find it; 

If there be none, never mind it.

P.S.  You may have noticed I like to use the word “spirituality” instead of “religious”. That’s because atheist and agnostics can be spiritual too. I am inclusive.  

Singapore Man of Leisure (welcome to my blog; just google it!)