We have all indulged this curiosity, haven’t we? What would I do if I suddenly found I had a short time to live … What would it be like to sit in a doctor’s office and hear a death sentence? I had entertained those fantasies just like the next person. So when it actually happened, I felt weirdly like an actor in a melodrama. I had—and still sometimes have—the feeling that I was doing, or had done, something faintly self-dramatizing, something a bit too attention-getting. (I was raised by people who had a horror of melodrama, but that’s another part of the story.) In two months I will mark the finish of year 3 B.T.—my third year of Borrowed Time. (Or, as I think of it on my best days, Bonus Time.) When I was diagnosed with Stage IV(b) liver cancer in early July of 2001, every doctor was at great pains to make clear to me that this was a death sentence.
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