Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Whatever life we get is bonus
Editor's note: The following post is written by Miles Levin, a young cancer patient profiled on tonight's "360." Miles' personal blog can be read at www.carepages.com, page name "LevinStory."

Through his blog, Miles has talked about cancer and life with tens of thousands of readers around the world.

Looking through my living room window, I suspect being outside would feel wonderful, but I really wouldn't know. As I write this from my bed, my entire body feels saturated in a sticky, toxic nausea, with chemotherapy pumping through my 18-year-old veins. Like Michael Jackson's moonwalk, chemotherapy has this strange way of moving a person another step towards life and death at the same time.

Twenty three months ago, I was diagnosed with stage IV rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare pediatric muscle cancer affecting only 350 children a year. With odds like that, and with a 20 percent chance of survival, I can only deduce two possibilities about the universe: God's plan is evident in every little shifting of the breeze, or it's totally random. I don't see how there could be much middle ground.

I remember my first chemo round, staring at the ceiling and trying not to cry. The agony was stunning. I've long since learned to go ahead and cry. How could this have happened? Yet as with anything that happens, it happens, and then suddenly you find it has happened, and more things keep continuing to happen. Chemotherapy has instilled in me a visceral understanding that all bad things will pass in time ... but that all good things will too.

I set out on a 19-month course of treatment, chronicling the journey on an online blog. Little did I know that my little Web site intended to keep extended family and friends informed would find readers all across the country and even the world, including such countries as Japan, Australia, Germany, Brazil.

My journey became our journey, with treatment finishing last December. For a brief, hopeful month in January, it appeared to have been successful. My scans were clear. But, as is so common with cancer, there were still sub-detectable rogue cells lurking in distant corners of my body. Within weeks, they swarmed forth again and my body was infested once more.

A recurrence of my kind of cancer has been hitherto incurable, although I still cling to a slim ray of hope. But in all likelihood, I am in the last few months of my short life.

Unlike many cancer patients, I don't have much anger. The way I see it, we're not entitled to one breath of air. We did nothing to earn it, so whatever we get is bonus. I might be more than a little disappointed with the hand I've been dealt, but this is what it is. Thinking about what it could be is pointless. It ought to be different, that's for sure, but it ain't. A moment spent moping is a moment wasted.

I accept what is to come, but I cannot rid myself of a deep mourning for all those experiences -- college, marriage, children, grandchildren -- that will probably never be mine to celebrate. What solace I do find is in the knowledge that I have done everything I can to transmute this terribleness into something positive by showing as many people as I can how to endure it with a smile.

I don't believe you can ask for any more, but if I could ask for something, it would be to be able to go outside into the glorious spring air, feeling healthy and blissfully clueless as to how lucky I was for it, if only just for an hour.


-- By Miles Levin, Guest Blogger
Posted By CNN: 12:11 PM ET
  87 Comments
Miles,

I too wish you could feel the warmth on your face and the joy of the outside with no cares, worries or pain!

It is sad what hand life has dealt you but I thank you for sharing these times with us and letting us see that no matter what, life goes on and it is up to us as to how we choose to let it effect us.

My heart goes out to you and I wish you and yours the best on this journey...

May God bless and keep you!
Posted By Cynthia, Covington, Ga. : 12:45 PM ET
Hi Miles,
My mother recently finished 10 months of intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatment for Stage 3 Cancer. I know how bad it has been for her and cannot imagine what you must go through. I hope you can go outside sometime this spring! You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Best wishes!
Posted By Pamina, Pittsford, New York : 12:45 PM ET
Miles:
I don't think I've ever encountered a more beautiful soul than yours. And this is the second time today (and it's only 11:30 am in Louisiana as I write this) that I am reminded of just how much we take for granted. Before I read your story, I saw a young child with two amputated limbs. I work for a large orthopedic clinic with a pediatric orthopedic spine surgeon-one of the few in the state. His patients usually cause me to be diminished into a blubbering pile of flesh, and today it happened again. He looked very young, maybe 7 or 8 years old. His arm and leg were amputated and he was so happy to be carrying his baby sister in his arms while manuervering himself in his wheelchair. Some of the children this doctor treats come to him as a last resort. I hope this wasn't the case with this little boy. And then I read your blog and I wish I could hug you right now. At the risk of sounding stupid, let me please say that I admire you so much and I want you to know that I think you are incredibly special and strong. You and this little boy have reminded me of how important it is to take the time to appreciate things that we ignore-like the spring air. I feel like a monumental jackass for all the things I overlook because I am too busy moaning about my insignificant problems. Maybe that sounds like an over used sentiment, but what can I say? It's the truth.
Posted By Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 12:46 PM ET
Miles,

In my own way, I envy you. I am a former cancer patient myself and between the disease and the treatments, I am now so disabled that life has simply become purposeless. I've beaten every odd against my survival that the doctors have thrown at me. First a week. Then a month. Then a year, then 5 years. I'm now 8 years and 3 months out and the bomb that is my body continues to tick away. My endocrine system has a mind of it's own, I'm lucky if I remember what I had for breakfast and at times the pain is unbearable. I lost half my face, a third of one leg and my entire family. I have no friends. I wake up in the morning both surprised and disappointed. I see no life here.
Posted By Rod C. Venger Colorado Springs, Colorado : 1:16 PM ET
How amazingly selfless and brave and honest...I think Miles Levin has figured out what some people never do about life. I don't know. Maybe sharing his fight to live and acceptance of the unacceptable was part of his destiny. Maybe his life was about teaching others to live, not just survive. At 26 the man I was going to marry died after fighting for his life for a long time. He was 32. The only sense I can make out of it is that he taught me what matters in life. We missed all that life a couple is supposed to have. But we had a life some couples stay together their whole lives and never find. It sounds like Miles has gotten in his life what some never find, true serenity and purpose. I think even in death, it's just part of a bigger journey onto something bigger we can't see. I hope Miles gets his graduation and all those things he deserves. It definitely inspired me to go out and hug my friends a little harder this afternoon and cherish every second we've got.
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 1:21 PM ET
Miles;
Reading your story today brings back many memories of strength, grace and courage my own mother had as she fought for her life as she dealt with her own cancer. Mom had leukaemia, a rare form in adults – they gave her nine months to live once she was diagnosed. However, she lost her battle with the disease thirteen months later.

To this day, as I look back, it saddens me to think how young my mom when she lost her battle. As I watched her fight each day, day after day, as long and as hard as she could to battle this disease. I could never understand why this happened to her, or to our family. I loved my mother dearly, but during those thirteen months I spent each day with her hour after hour, I was amazed at her grace, strength and willpower to live. Mom became an inspiration to me.

Just like my mom, through your own fight and willpower, you bring courage and hope, you bring comfort and understanding to many people, more then you can ever imagine. I know it’s sometimes hard to fathom Why these things happen, Why me you ask? What did I do to deserve this, you wonder. Maybe God has a bigger plan for you. You bring comfort and understanding to those who share in your pain, you bring hope and determination to all of us, as the world continues to search for a cure for these cancerous diseases. You remind us why life is so precious and why it must never be taken for granted.

As you continue your flight, do not ever under-estimate how much you have touched the lives and hearts of so many, your parents, family, friends and schoolmates as well as your care-givers at the hospital.

Through the grace of God, may you have continued strength, hope, courage and peace, as you continue through your journey. May you find comfort in knowing you are never alone. Rest assured you will always be in our thoughts and prayers, as will your family and friends. You are a phenomenal young individual. Let Live! And Let God!

Lena.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Posted By Lena, Toronto, Ontario. Canada : 1:40 PM ET
Hello Miles,
You write with devine eloquence. Your message is so powerful that I had to regain my composure before I could respond.
I do volunteer work for the "Make A Wish Foundation". I am sure you are familiar with that organization but for those who are not, this organization grants wishes to young people who have life threatening illnesses. They don't use the word "terminal" because no matter what doctors of science may say, sometimes it just does not work out that way. I have seen some medical miracles. With that said, let me say that you are right when you say that God's plan is evident in every little shifting of the breeze.
I believe that we all have a purpose for our existence and I also believe that in that purpose we are suppose to make a positive difference by reaching out to others. You are certainly doing that with your gift that you are giving to us. To say that you are an inspiration would be quite the understatement.
Last year my Father was diagnoised with stage four cancer. Not a day goes by that I don't recall the look on his face when the Oncologist informed him he had only three months to live. Not a day goes by that I don't miss him and still shed a tear. In some strange way he is with me. Even though he is not around for me to ask his advice or share life experiences with, I feel his presence and guidance with me.
Miles, you are so awesome! Don't ever give up or quit using your gift. YOU have unlocked a treasure that many never find in this quest we call life.
Thank you Miles for the gift you have given me today. I feel richly blessed and I pray that you are blessed today also.
God speed~
Posted By Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX : 1:43 PM ET
Hi Miles,
It's a beautiful Spring day here in California. The air is warm and the breeze is brisk. After reading your post, I find myself at a loss of words, except to say Thank You. I think we all need to stop looking to the future and relish the moments, minutes and seconds, of right now. You so beautifully captured that feeling with your words. My thoughts are with you. Take Care
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 1:45 PM ET
People want so desperately to look for a cause for everything. They want somebody or something to blame, some way to explain devastating events like your cancer. Sometimes, though, things don't have a specific cause. Some people find that difficult because they feel finding a cause gives them "closure", but as a person with a disability I can tell you that the idea of closure is most popular with people who don't have to deal with anything that requires it.

As for your mourning: you have every right to mourn. So many times people who are dying end up hiding their grief because they feel guilty about burdening their families or they feel they should be "brave". Don't do this: you have nothing to be guilty about, and grief is not cowardly. If anything, facing whatever may happen in the coming months with honesty and dignity, as you are, is the highest form of bravery I can think of.
Posted By Charlene, Calgary, Canada : 1:49 PM ET
Miles,

We just lost our mother to a two year battle with Cancer and she to had the same mentality as you do. I just want to thank you for showing a great positive attitude and keeping the faith, people like you and my mother are what keep people like myself striving to give our best each and every day!
Posted By Santos, La Coste, TX : 2:14 PM ET
Hi Miles,

A true test of a person's courage and conviction in life is how they handle their life in the face of extreme adversity.

Your life is a very difficult one, Miles, but you have discovered something most people fail to realize in an entire lifetime. Life is a precious gift and we must face life with a smile.

For many of us, life isn't easy, but we must accept and live the life we have to the fullest.

By sharing your deepest thoughts, you are doing just that, Miles.

I wish you peace.
Posted By Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 2:32 PM ET
Miles,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Life is special in every breath we take. May your thoughts and attitude carry you.

Sherry, Las Vegas
Posted By Anonymous : 2:32 PM ET
Hi Miles,

I am glad to know that someone so young can be so selfless by trying to give others the dignity you obviously exhude to deal with diseases they may be plagued with. I myself could not imagine what you or others in your situation must go through on a daily basis but I imagine that finding any ray of light in the darkest of situations is not an easy task. You are an inspiration to me. And although I cannot say that I have not and will never again take things in my own life for granted, you have now reminded me to be thankful for everything I have because simply have the chance to live a healthy life is a gift all in itself. Thank you!
Posted By Glen S., Brooklyn, NY : 2:43 PM ET
Miles,
What a beautiful person you are. I can see it in your writing. I'm a mother of two (ages 19 and 15) and I thank God every day that they are healthy. I'm reading a book: Prayer, Does it Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey. It's a very good book and says that God does hear our prayers. I will begin praying for you and your family every single day, as they do make a difference. Cancer is a terrible disease and since losing my father to cancer 10 years ago, it seems the researchers have made some strides, but not near enough. Thank you for being so giving and so open with your feelings and allowing us to know your pain, your fear, and your hopes and dreams. I will be thinking of you graduating in June and I can picture you walking out the door and feeling the sun and breeze on your face. May God comfort you and your family.
Posted By Betty Downing, Lexington, KY : 2:51 PM ET
It's a good thing I'm writig because I don't think I could speak right now. What a wonderful,courageous young man.
I often find that children who are sick and especially dying,have this wisdom that always impresses me. They are angels in my book.
I lost a baby to illness.It was very quick and it's horrible to see your kid slip away.But it most be unbearable to see it happen on a long period. I have a tought for the parents.
We are all living on borrowed time. We never know when our time will come.It is the final big surprise! But when you ar dying from an illness,you are faced with your mortality.Everything is put in perspective.
4 years ago, I had a "run-in" with skin cancer.First surgery,I wasn't too worried,than,the call that told me they were worried about the fact that the cells were spreading rapidly. The second surgery,then,the wait. I remember after surgery,just starting to shake and cry because I had to face the facts.But I'm positive,I pulled myself together.But still,the fear would grip me once in a while.Finally,they got it all out and I didn't need any treatment.
I was an adult and it scared the hell out of me.Imagine being a child and facing death. And the toll on the parents. My toughts & prayers for Miles and his family.
And now, I'm going to take a journey on his blog.

Joanne R.
Laval Quebec
Posted By Joanne R.Laval Quebec : 2:53 PM ET
Miles,
You carry a wisdom and strength many don't necessarily see until much older in life. You have been able to reach into your soul and describe it so beautifully.

To me, this life is a wisp of wind swiftly moving forward to another time and place which we cannot fully understand while on this earth.

As I read your blog, I feel you have touched so many lives. How many of us out in cyberland can say as much? You chose to reach out and communicate with others about your journey. It is an outstanding gift you have given worldwide.

Thank you for reminding all of us how to embrace and discover each day.

My prayers are with you and your family.
Posted By Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 3:14 PM ET
Miles,
Reading your message hits so close to home as we lost our 12 year old daughter this past February. She fought an incredible fight over the past 8 1/2 years. We felt blessed for each day we had with her. Megan had the insight to enjoy each day for what it brings for tomorrow may never come. We are still trying to deal with the senselessnes of losing her so young. Yet we marvel at her strength and courage as well as her ability to see good in everything around her. If it is God's will to call you home, please look her up, she always wanted a big brother.
Posted By Rhonda K. Waverly, IA : 3:20 PM ET
Hi Miles,

I work at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston TX. although I'm not in direct contact with patients I do read the letters that we receive back with a little note about there current conditions. I just wanted to say hi and will continue to read your blog.

Joe
MD Anderson
Posted By Joe houston TX : 3:23 PM ET
Dear Brother Miles,
I am a doctor from India and I am simply frustrated that with all out advances in Medicine, we still are incapable of helping such a bright young man.

At the same time,I am so proud to be human because of the courage , dignity and poise shown by one of my brothers at such a young age.

I think if all of us have even 10% of your qualities the world be a different place.

I will pray for you and so will my friends as we in India believe that prayer has intense powers.

May God keep you out of harm's way.
Posted By Rajan , Dehradun, India : 3:40 PM ET
WOW!!!!!!
reading your blog makes me really want to live and enjoy every minute I am given. thank you
Posted By melissa ordenanz lake worth, fl : 3:46 PM ET
Hi Miles,

You are a wonderful young man. It always amazes me how positive kids can be when they have a life threatening disease. My niece was diagnosed with childhood leukemia when she was 15. She is now 17 and in remission. Even though, the chemo was very painful she was always upbeat. You have an amazing outlook on life. All of us should see the world through your eyes. I’m sure God is smiling down at you right now. Just remember every day is warm sunny day in heaven with no pain or sadness. God bless you!

Patty
Xenia OH
Posted By Anonymous : 3:52 PM ET
Miles,

I read your blog and I have chills -- but your positivity and amazing strength is something to be so very proud of. My brother is fighting Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor (DSRCT)and at one point in January was given hours -- he is still fighting. (www.markdewalle.com) You never know the turns to come, and it seems that you are living your life knowing that.

You are in my thoughts and prayers -- God Bless and keep fighting! You are truly a blessing to this world.

-Mandy, Colorado Springs, CO
Posted By Mandy Weightman : 3:55 PM ET
To Miles:

Thanks for being a role model for all those in pain and all those suffering. May God Bless you and hold you!

To Rajan, India:

A beautiful post. You are a breath of fresh air to the blog! It is good to see a fresh and positive post!
Posted By Renee Bradenton, FL : 3:59 PM ET
Miles,
yours is truly a beautiful soul and although I have never met you I find myself so saddened by the thought that someone such as yourself may be taken from us. I hope that one day if I find myself in a position such as yours I have the dignity and courage to face it as you have done. Your family must be so proud of the young man you are! My thoughts are with you and I wish you peace and a day in the sunshine. Know that although it might seem dark to you, you have touched many with the light that we see in your heart.
Posted By Heather, Ft Myers Florida : 4:05 PM ET
If everyone in the world had your outlook on life, it would be a better place. I can't imagine being so enlightened at your age. I probably would have given up from the start. Thank you for sharing your wonderful outlook on life, I think it will benefit anyone who reads this. It sure did help me get through today.
Posted By Jess, Paris, KY : 4:09 PM ET
Miles,
You are the truest patriot this country could know. God is smiling on you, and gave you something that has changed the world in words. We all pass, and that is a truth many avoid until later in life. My mother passed last year with three days noticed, and it has changed me more than I know I can can ever mentally understand alone. I have to feel it to accept it. Death is life infinite. It is both sorrowful and joyous at the same time. I will not forget your blog's wisdom, and grace. Thank you
Michael,
Tallahasee, Florida
Posted By Anonymous : 4:15 PM ET
Miles,

I just dryed my eyes and went out into the beautiful spring afternoon we have been blessed with today. Thank you for reminding me that the joys in my life really are all the little things that I normally take for granted. I can't wait to get home and play catch with my son.
Posted By Chris in Maryland : 4:29 PM ET
What an inspirational story! Amazing!
Rowena Nicholson, Buena Park, CA
Posted By Anonymous : 4:31 PM ET
Miles, you're a good example of someone who looks at what he has - not what he doesn't have.
Posted By Steve - Peoria, IL : 4:38 PM ET
Miles--

Bonus is correct--every minute of every day! Why we are allowed to inhabit this wonderful creation called Earth is much more than bonus it's a gift...and the random idea--there's no way! Coordinated and perfect is His plan in every aspect of our lives, yet we rarely understand how this can be when illness, tragedy or heartache comes or way. The struggles we endure here on this Earth is what I have come to know as character builders--the things that substance is made of. There are always trials to face and hurts to heal and we humans are either those that are suffering are those that can make a difference. And look at you -- making a difference while in the midst of suffering and pain. Very few in 18 years have reached the point of acceptance of what ever may come their way as you have. Very few have come to this realization in 100 years. You're opportunity to share has made you a hero. Believe in miracles, release your troubles and continue to reach out to those around you--knowing you are making a difference in the lives of thousands with your positive attitude. Godspeed to a better day Miles Levin!
Posted By Zann Easterwood Martin, Tennessee : 4:43 PM ET
I am a husband, and father of 3. I currently serve in the United States Army in Fort Knox Ky (16 Cav. And I must Say that I truely envy you. I wish I had half the Courage and Strength that you have After reading youre story I broke down in tears here in my office. You are a very special person. And my god continue be with you and youre family.
Posted By Michael Jones : 4:54 PM ET
I honestly don't know what to say. I'm speechless! (though Anderson may find that hard to believe.) I don't know how you manage to handle all this. You are truly a beautiful soul and I hope God continues to give your strength and hope. If you find the time, I wish you would teach the rest of us how you manage to be so brave and strong, and hopeful.

God Bless!
Posted By Christina, Windber, PA : 4:57 PM ET
Miles-
It's such a beautiful, sunny day here in Connecticut, and here I am, stuck at my work desk, without a window to look out of. Then I read your blog and realized how fortunate I am, I can go out this evening and enjoy the sunset and feel the breeze on my face. You are an inspiration to all of us. I hope you are able to attend your graduation surrounded by those who love you and are inspired by you. Continue the fight as long as you want. Peace.
Denise Meriden, Connecticut
Posted By Anonymous : 5:03 PM ET
As odd as it may sound, I think if a person comes close to losing something in their lives, they then appreciate what they have much more. Too bad that's what it takes for some to realize what their blessings are, instead of focusing on what they want but don't have. God Bless you Miles.
Posted By Sarah - Evanston, Ill. : 5:14 PM ET
Miles, This is just to make public my appreciation of what you have shared with us and how much difference it has made, is making and will continue to make in people's lives, especially in those who are touched in some way by this disease. My heart goes out to you and your family as you all face this journey and our prayers are with you daily. You are truly fighting the good fight! Love from Helen in Brazil
Posted By Helen Cruz : 5:19 PM ET
Miles,

When I smell the beautiful spring air today I am going to think of you. Thank you so much for reminding me how much I have to be grateful for.

Barbara
Posted By Barbara, Los Angeles, CA : 5:29 PM ET
Verba volant, (littera) scripta manet // Miles, your writing will have more power than a hundred years of just spoken words. Your life has meaning far beyond itself!
Posted By Jake of Sigourney, Iowa : 5:31 PM ET
Miles, your strength and courage amaze me. I'd say stay positive, but seems like you've got that down pat!

To Rod in Colorado - I just don't even know what to say. To wake up and be surprised and disappointed that you are still here...how do you do it? How do you keep going? I hope you find something in your life that brings you comfort.

You are both in my thoughts and prayers.
Posted By Stacey; Ottawa, Canada : 5:35 PM ET
Dear Miles,

Thank you for sharing your beautifully written heartfelt feelings with us. I wish that all of us could learn to spend more time cherishing each day as it is given to us and less time on what the future will bring.

Although you may mourn for what you might not be able to exerience, I hope you can take some comfort from the knowledge that you have touched so many people with your courage, thoughtfulness and honesty. I don't know how many of us could have handled the same situation with the dignity and grace that you have.

Continue to cling to that "slim ray of hope" no matter how small it may seem.

I wish you all the best; my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Jo Ann
Posted By Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 5:38 PM ET
Hello Miles, Sharing your illness in your own words is truly an inspiration to so many. Humans of earth have lost sight of the not so hidden meaning in life - To love, to care, and help others through life on this planet - You are reflecting out to the world the beauty of your soul and others shall be encouraged.
Take care and may God and your beloved angels keep you safe.
Posted By Judy Stage Brooklyn MI : 5:39 PM ET
First of all, I posted earlier in the day but I was so emotional that I wrote as if a producer had written the blog so I did not address my comment directly to you Miles. So, I am now. I am praying for you and your strenght is a lesson for all.

To Rod,in Colorado: I hope that some day you just wake up and feel amazed and happy. By reaching out to that blog,you have touched many of us I am sure of it. "To the world,you may be one person,but for one person,you are the world".I hope you find that person,wherever and whoever it may be. My toughts and prayers are with you dear Rod.

Joanne R.
Laval QUebec
Posted By Joanne R.Laval Quebec : 6:05 PM ET
Dealing with Cancer the past few years I wish I could have the attitude you do. Most of the time I feel upbeat, but at times, it becomes overwhelming thinking of how it will all end some day.

I know peace comes from within but, I am struggling to find it. Thank you for writing and giving others the chance to see how much attitude plays a part in our well being.

Everyone is put on this earth for something... for some reason, and I'm sure that one reason you were put here is to help others understand. Thank you!
Posted By Lisa, Florida : 6:09 PM ET
The strength and grace that Miles Levin exudes in the face of the pain and suffering he's experiencing is remarkable and makes me feel ashamed of the times I've whined and complained about my own entirely insignificant problems.
Posted By Fay, Vacaville, CA : 6:11 PM ET
Miles, your beautifully eloquent post has rendered me speechless except to say that you are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you.
Posted By Claire- Birmingham, AL : 6:45 PM ET
Our Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for your grace and truth. Here, more than ever, are we abundantly aware of the frustrations of this life, and we long to know the meaning of the things of this world. While we do not know why you have chosen Miles to fight this battle, we thank you for the gift that he is to our lives. His insight and elegance in words are an inspiration to us all, and a daily reminder that we should savor every moment you choose to allow us on this Earth. We pray it is your will that you will stretch your healing hand and touch Miles. Take this horrible disease from his body. We thank you for many blessings, and for your enduring grace.
Amen.
Posted By Christie, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada : 7:01 PM ET
Miles, this may or may not be posted, and you may or may not read it. But I realize that you GET IT. You see life for what it is...borrowed. It is something that we take for granted, and we never think about the end of that life. This is the one thing we should all prepare for, and, while you have time to do that, which means you get to savor every moment more so than just about everyone else, some people can walk out of the house, get in the car and get killed by a falling tree. After 9/11, I realized how many REGRETS people had....they left he house angry w/their spouse; they left without saying "I love you" one last time. We always think we have tomorrow, but, as you so eloquently remind us, we only have RIGHT NOW.

I pray that you have peace, and may all your dreams come true, even if it is not here on this earth.
Posted By Barbara, Columbia, MD : 7:01 PM ET
God bless you, Miles. You are a talented writer. Thank you for sharing your feelings and experiences.
Posted By Kay - Temple, TX : 7:35 PM ET
Hi Miles,

Like so many other posts on here, your courage in facing your fight with cancer is truly admirable. You've touch me in so many ways with your eloquent blog. I wish you all the best.
Posted By M. Wong, Los Angeles, CA : 8:19 PM ET
Wow, what a great outlook Miles has regarding life. Wish more people who are blessed with good health would have the same.
Posted By Barbara Kozlowski, Phoenix AZ : 8:57 PM ET
Dear Miles,
I have read your comments with great interest. You have shown me that we really do need to stop and smell the roses, and smell the clean fresh air. You are an inspiration and even though you don't know it, you are from God. Perhaps He has chosen you to spread all the goodness we have in our hearts and in this world. My prayers and my thoughts will always be with you.
Jeanne Sanderson, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posted By jeanne sanderson : 10:50 PM ET
Miles,

Twenty years ago, my mother was diagnosed with endometrial stromal sarcoma. We were told that she had a prognosis of approximately two years. She continued to live her life for another 18 years until the cancer grew to a point where treatment was necessary.

Two years ago, we were told that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes of her lungs.

A year ago, I noticed that she was having problems completing her sentences and took her to the hospital. It turned out that she has a secondary cancer in her lungs which spread to her brain. She immediately had a craniotomy of her left frontal lobe to remove a tumor. Again, her prognosis was not favorable, and surgery was followed with intensive chemotherapy and radiation.

What is the point of sharing our story with you? Well, my sweet boy, my mother and I are preparing to celebrate our 43rd Mother's Day together this Sunday. Her hair is growing back, and although she will never be "the same" Mom we all tend to take for granted, I never thought we'd have this opportunity a year ago.

Anything is possible, Miles. Please keep fighting, never give up hope and know that you have touched many. (I personally have never written anything, on any blog, anywhere. Our family is very private, and this note to you is so very out of character). You touched me.

My love and thoughts to you and your family.

Kathy
Posted By Kathy, Sacramento, Ca. : 11:13 PM ET
I think it takes a very brave soul to share with the world something that would be near impossible to articulate. Watching from Australia and listening to the on going debate about religion and science, i can't help but think, that while answers would be helpful, some questions have none. That's not to say that they shouldn't be asked, i just think we should all enjoy the spring air while we can and to thank Miles for reminding us of the beauty in it, in the saddest possible way.
Posted By sally, sydney, australia : 11:20 PM ET
Dear Miles,

You are a truly precious human being, I drove home form work today thinking af all of the frivolous complaints that plague most people , traffic , demands from our jobs... I read your profile and your blog, you may not concider your circumstance a blessing, no one would , how could we ever come close to understanding your physical pain , much less your desire to enjoy what we all take for granted, a sunset , a clear blue sky, a healthy body, you have moved and touched many by reaching out , you are wise beyond your years , I pray for you and your family, there is nothing harder than to see your child in pain. I pray that you'll breathe the glorious spring air, feel strong and healthy for all eternity. Can't say I love poetry, however this piece reminded me of you today.

"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.

(I'll pray for your kitty too.)

Maritza
Posted By Maritza, San Jose, Ca. : 11:37 PM ET
Miles,
I've always held on to the notion that the older the wiser. Today my friend, you have proven me wrong. You are wise beyond your years. I am 36 yrs old and today I have learned from you.

Over the last several years, I have been sullen about all the things that I felt like I had not achieved. Coincidentally, my list mirrored yours: marriage, earning my college degree, etc. Basically, I was just a whiner and complainer.... however after running across this article...I was stunned and amazed about your views on life given your condition. You are right "we are not entitled to one breath of air" and more importantly anything outside of that is a "bonus".

I get it, Carpe diem! Take nothing for granted. "In whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." "But godliness with contentment is great gain".

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I intend to save it as a letter from a friend on how to live. Whatever is within you that draw on for strength, please, please do not give that up. You have learned in a short time, what has taken me 36 yrs to come to terms with.

Be encouraged!!!
John 3:16
Posted By kim,chesapeake,va : 11:50 PM ET
Miles,

You are an example to follow and a person to admire. Each one of us has a problem, little or small, it is always a problem, but understanding them and being positive is a gift and you are a gift by yourself and the family supporting you. Keep it up!

Rodolfo
Costa Rica
Posted By Rodolfo E. Mora : 1:49 AM ET
Miles, It's angels like you that keep me up all night studying to become a doctor. Thank's for the inspiration. You're a beautiful writer. With all my love, -Maria
Posted By Maria Jane San Diego,CA : 2:10 AM ET
Hi Miles, Or should I say Hello brother. You see, when you we're diagosed with this illness, you became a part of our family. Bet you never thought that you would here that...lol Thats exactly how I felt the day that I was told and its true. There are alot of us out here in different situations and we all handle them in different and sometimes difficult ways. Cancer.....A word I never thought that I would ever here along side my name (43 AND RAISING MY DAUGHTER), yet today I can honestly say with tears of happiness in my eyes that I am a better and happier person for it. I guess thats why when I heard of your situation I felt the need to respond. Its hard, its unbearable and sometimes down right sickening, but know this your attitude and strength of understanding, however difficult it may be will forever be your guiding light. We are here for you and your family in every and anyway we can. DON'T LOSE FAITH.
Forever David Albalos
Posted By David Albalos Jr. Lacey, Washington : 2:15 AM ET
Miles,
You may be suffering from this terrible illness, but I see strength and peace in you. Keep sharing your thoughts.

I have no doubt you will gain your strength back; you will overcome this illness.

Our prayer and best wishes are with you
Posted By Hanna, San Francisco CA : 3:40 AM ET
Hi Miles,

You're touching so many through your words. Teaching, enlightening and demonstrating the true meaning of life itself. So often, we take life itself for granted forgetting to hug, say "I love you" ,etc. because we feel we are here forever or, will have the time later to do so. For all, it's NEVER the QUANITY of time and what we do with it BUT, most importantly, it's the QUALITY of time and what we do with it! At such a tender age, you're teaching others to realize this fact! Continue your fight and know, at the end of every trial, there is a great blessing! My prayers are with you and your family!
Posted By Sylvia Espejo : 7:07 AM ET
I am a 48 year old man who has been blessed with many advantages and relatively good help. My only problems are a result of my own addictions to alcohol and drugs. Your story made me cry and to be ashamed and embarrassed because of my selfishness.
God Bless You,

Glenn
N. Charleston, SC
Posted By Anonymous : 8:55 AM ET
Miles,

You are truly a gift. I can't help but think that even when you do pass, as we all eventually do, you will be gracing the prescence of something much greater than this world.

God bless you for your kindred spirit.
Posted By Jim in Terre Haute : 8:58 AM ET
Miles,

Your story hits home with me - hard. May 1998, at the young age of 17, my boyfriend of 2 years was diagnosed with Stage IV Ewings Sarcoma - another extremely rare pediatric (bone) cancer. Todd lived 16 months with this horrible disease and sadly lost his battle on September 15, 1999. I can remember walking up to his room at the hospital after school and his Dad standing in the doorway the day he was diagnosed. He wouldn't let me enter the room immediately. Instead, he pulled me to the side and gave me the sickening news - it was cancer. I can remember so vividly standing there, staring out the window at the end of the hall and those words just ringing in my ears, "it's cancer," over and over again. How? Why Todd? What did he do to deserve this? The following Saturday he received his first dose of Chemo - the first step on the long road of treatment. I sat on the side of his bed stroking his hand in disbelief. However, Todd just smiled and drifted off to sleep.

It was a long, courageous battle that Todd fought. And he fought with a smile on his face, always joking with the nurses and doctors. I still see that smile almost 8 years later. It will be embedded in my memory for the rest of my life.

The strength and courage that you exude is uplifting. I know it's the same strength and courage that Todd had. You (as was Todd) are such an inspiration. Thank you for reminding me again how wonderful every breath of life is.
Posted By Becky, Fort Mill, SC : 9:39 AM ET
Miles, Please read "The Cancer Prevention Diet" by Mishio Kushi and "The China Study" By Campbell I think that these will give you some Asian insite about how the body is affected by the food we eat. So many young people are exposed to so many chemical our body can not recognize, we don't realize what it acutally dose to our health. Good luck and best wishes.

MD Houston Texas.
Posted By Anonymous : 10:15 AM ET
Miles...

You may not realize it and it may not be your intention, but you are an inspiration... I read your story yesterday and came back to it today because I was feeling grumpy and not appreciative of all that I have... I usually say to myself "it could be worse" now I will add "think of Miles" and when I do, I will also say a prayer for you and all who suffer while we moan and groan over silly trivial things... God be with you always ...
Posted By Sherry Sarasota Fl : 10:24 AM ET
Wow, what a couragageous young man. He is facing this disease with such dignity. I hope they find a cure for this horrible disease soon. Thanks for the story. We need to all step back and say a prayer for this brave young man.
Posted By Kathy Chicago,Il : 10:28 AM ET
Miles, I've read your post several times now and each time I'm struck by your courage and grace.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. I just know you have touched so many people.

You have taught this 39 year old woman a very valuable lesson today: Treasure your time here on Earth.

God bless you, Miles.
Posted By Annette LaCanna, Alpha, NJ : 1:32 PM ET
Miles, I know this will sound negative, but you’re wrong. All good things do not pass away. They are the only things that remain. Look at how many people have responded to your blog with a spirit of kindness and comfort! Think of how many more people (like me), will not take this day for granted because of you! There is a ripple of love emanating out from your computer touching thousands of lives with hope and inspiration. Hearts have been warmed. Hearts of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, leaders, teachers who in turn will warm the hearts of children and friends and family. No sir, it does not pass away, it grows! You are in touch with a greater Spirit. If you believe you have an eternal soul, then you must know that this life is a short preface to a massive book that you have not even opened yet. If you believe in Jesus, then you know He has prepared a place for you; a great reunion that this life cannot hold a candle to. If this limited life can host a beautiful moment like this where thousands of people can share in the words of your heart over the internet, think of how much greater it will be in the next when all barriers are removed and every tear will be wiped away! Jesus knows the desire of your heart. Jesus believes in you. He waits for all of us. Find out who He is. I found out a little more about him Him just now from reading your story and all of these posts. Thank you.
Posted By Rob, New Bern NC : 2:30 PM ET
Miles,
Thank you for your words that will definitly inspire many people outhere to appreciate their lives. There is always hope, I will keep you in my prayers. God Bless you
William Ghattas ,FV, CA
Posted By William Ghattas : 3:20 PM ET
after reading your story i was left with tears and a heavy heart. but then, i ditched the trip to the grocery store and took the kids to the park to make sandcastles and get blissfully dirty. and then we had ice cream for lunch. you've humbled me with your bravery and i thank you for making me appreciate the gifts of my life.
Posted By sandy tucson arizona : 5:43 PM ET
Miles,
Have you seen the movie Pay It Forward? YOU are doing that!!!Way to go! Your name suits you, MILES and MILES you have affected people around the world. MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!!!
Posted By Polly Anna, Shreveport,LA : 5:44 PM ET
Hey Miles,
A good test for someone's courage is how they handle their life during true moments of true distress.

Your life is very hard, but you have found something, at the age of 16, that most people will not find their entire life. Life is a special gift and youknow to go at it with a smile.

For a lot of us, life isn't always easy, but we have to accept and live the life we were given to it's fullest potential.

By telling all your special thoughts, you are doing just that.

May luck be with you and never give up.
Posted By Jeff Reuter Munster,IN : 7:25 PM ET
My oldest son, Noah, died on May 31, 1988 at the age of sixteen, after a four year struggle with leukemia.
Reading your thoughts gives me some insight into what he went through, something I have longed for all of these years. Noah always said he wasn't afraid of dying and would not discuss it. This left me feeling like I had failed him as a mother since I felt that he was taking care of me. I believe, however, that he went through many of the things you are saying. After a failed bone marrow transplant, he went back to his school to say goodby to his friends and teachers. One of the things he said echoes through today to everyone who heard him. "I'm not very good at this, I've never died before, but thank you for being my friends." As you said, in somewhat different words, "life is tough but then you go on living it." He has been a continuing inspiration to all who knew him, as you are. All through life, we are so afraid of death. But as an adult, how can we be afraid when you are going through the process, as did Noah, with such grace. Thank you for being willing to share. I don't think you have to fear not leaving your mark on the world.
Posted By alice wolfson, san francisco : 2:47 PM ET
Miles,

I loved reading your blog and seeing how positive and happy you are staying through this time. I really enjoyed your comment, "a moment spent moping is a moment wasted". I believe everyone should live by those words and I was so happy to see that mindset you have. This is a terrible time in your life but you could not be appoaching it in a better way. You are a role model to so many people and you should be proud of yourself for what you have accomplished.

Never lose hope, we're all behind you. with love and support, KT :)
Posted By KT Szafasz : 8:22 PM ET
Miles,

Thank you very much for your blog. Your courage and strength are remarkable.

Thank you especially for reminding all of us that health is a fragile thing, and life is a beautiful gift. You give us all a positive perspective.

Best wishes to you and thank you again for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us.

- Annie
Posted By Annie Pellicciotti, Munster, Indiana : 4:02 PM ET
Miles,

I wrote a comment to you a few weeks ago regarding my brother, Mark DeWalle and his battle with DSRCT. We lost a dear friend to the same illness you are battling a few years ago; and Mark has made the decision to take control and stop treatment for his battle with DSRCT. I know your days are consumed with your own battle, but if you could take a few moments to please visit www.markdewalle.com and maybe leave some sort of your wisdom you've been blessed with for his family on the wall of the site, it would be so much appreciated. None of us have ever been in his or your shoes, and we often don't know what to say. If anyone else who reads this has words of strenth or inspiration for Mark or the DeWalle family, please visit the site. Thank you and may God bless you in your battle. ~Mandy Weightman
Posted By Mandy Weightman : 6:06 PM ET
This is actually for Rod C. from Colorado--your posting broke my heart---my prayers are for you to feel God's grace and blessings--do you have your own blog--then you will see you are not alone, and your life is NOT meaningless...
Posted By Anonymous : 12:14 PM ET
Dear Miles,
My wife is filing the divorce papers today, we been separated for a year, our marriage broke down. She is a wonderful person, so am I, but she broke the vows which only a few have the privilege like you would know the bonds that tie. Yet is not betrayal, on her part, but on the cards we are dealt. U are gone, may peace be with you.
Yours,
anon. Vancouver Canada
Posted By Anonymous : 1:33 PM ET
Miles,
I will see you in the skies and the stars and the ripples of ocean water- I will feel your power and grace in the winds of winters and summers.
I will live a bit of my life for you.
And I wish for you a technicolor everafter where you call the shots from your place of joy and calm.
I never knew you but I have love for you.
Peace be unto your soul-
Tony
Posted By Anonymous : 5:28 PM ET
Milles,

God will look by you.

Brazil
Posted By Anonymous : 5:49 PM ET
I read your words today and admire your courage. My mother was diagnosed with Sate III Pancreatic Cancer a year ago. See is 84 yrs old and sustained a grueling round of chemo, which put her in the hospital twice. This last time almost killed her. She has decided against any chemo and we are told she has 6 months to live. I have been living with Multiple Sclerosis for 28 years. I am thankful for my life, even though it has progressed over time, but I am Alive. I am now watching my mother die and she has the same courage. I am going to share this with my Dad, because he is having a hard time accepting my Mother's enevitable death. They have been married for 51 years. I hope by sharing your Blog with him it comforts him and helps in dealing with her inmpending death. Thank you for your words of wisdom. Vanessa, Huntington Beach, CA
Posted By Anonymous : 7:17 PM ET
According to the Detroit News on August 20, Miles passed away on the morning of Sunday, August 19. Thank you Miles, for sharing the gift of your wisdom with us. May your memory be eternal.
Posted By Becki : 7:30 PM ET
Hi Miles,
I might have played a role in your life but never knew you personally.
May peace be with your soul and god bless your family.
Posted By drnucrad : 8:34 PM ET
Miles,

Realisation is in itself an achievement of a lifetime. Reading through your blog and stopping only too often to think how true and candidly heartfelt every word of yours is let my heart sink at times. A brave kid that you are made me feel like a minnow and unappreciative all the time.

All of us are proud of you, we really are. We only wish in times of our own insignificant turmoils we could be half as brave and accepting as you are.

God has His strange ways and we are way too trivial to question His design. You have accepted your destiny with grace and courage and you are a hero.

We all pray to God that your enlightened soul be blessed and you continue to inspire lesser humans like me.
Posted By Sudipto De Sarkar, India : 6:55 AM ET
Miles,
You made me cry after looooong years of not being able to. Hate to admit it but it's true. :((
Posted By Anonymous : 7:30 AM ET
For the first time in my life, I was thankful for being able to stand on my feet and stare into the clouds.

You're gone now, where you are holds no pain, no tears and surely no chemotherapy.

You will not have a child or see your graduation or play with your grand kids, but I pray God will grant you my wish, he should grant you in eternity what he did not give you in life, an opportunity to be thankful.

You leave us with a big bang. Your life meant something to many and your death.....opened my eyes.

I am single and I always wondered what I would call my son if I had one. I would call him Miles. I hope to God he understands someday the courage and humility of a boy I never met who was once called by that name.

It hurts me to have to say this. To you who re-awakened the joys of life in so many. Rest in peace
Posted By Anonymous : 11:21 AM ET
I too am battling a Stage IV cancer (breast cancer) for the second time. At age 49 I am at peace with my diagnosis and continue to battle daily as did Miles. I was struck by his attitude even at such a very young age. I am widowed as of 1 year with a seventeen year old son. I can't begin to imagine your sorrow for the loss of your son.

You must be so proud of him. His courage and strength has touched so many.

God bless you.
Kathy
Posted By Anonymous : 6:27 AM ET
hello miles
i am at crossroads today is my new life...i was up late last night and i saw your sweet face and i heard you speak of God and all this sort of things and my heart just melted i know that when you can see God in the midst of some thing painful then you have shown the strenngth of your soul....may God welcome you with open arms.. many people say rest in peace but i say make joyful noise on to the lord..i know Gods happy to have you home.
Posted By Anonymous : 1:07 PM ET
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