Oliver Sacks and the power of his words.

I read that Oliver Sacks died yesterday. I am aware many people might not know who he was. He was a neurologist and a writer. He became sick and died. He was aware this was about to happen. I read he was still playing piano, swimming and writing to his friends when life slipped away.
I am aware some of my scientist friends might feel he is too much of a media person.
I, on the other hand, am grateful for the words that I have read through my life that came from his books. Books that could be read by people like me. People who were not neurologists:)
I remember that when I suddenly could play piano better than I ever could before… Just after I lost neurones I thought about his book musicology.
I remember that when I could not even draw a clock to Dr. Getulio I thought about another one of his books.
I remember that when I could not recognise the keyboard, nor see things in front of me I thought about “the man who mistook his wife for an umbrella”.
So, I searched for his last article. I had read it months ago. I was moved than…   It is so beautiful….it is called “my own life”.
You don,t have to be a doctor to understand it. It is about life. His life.
So I share his and Hume’s words.
With love,

My Own Life

Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer

FEBRUARY 19, 2015

A MONTH ago, I felt that I was in good health, even robust health. At 81, I still swim a mile a day. But my luck has run out — a few weeks ago I learned that I have multiple metastases in the liver. Nine years ago it was discovered that I had a rare tumor of the eye, an ocular melanoma. The radiation and lasering to remove the tumor ultimately left me blind in that eye. But though ocular melanomas metastasize in perhaps 50 percent of cases, given the particulars of my own case, the likelihood was much smaller. I am among the unlucky ones.

I feel grateful that I have been granted nine years of good health and productivity since the original diagnosis, but now I am face to face with dying. The cancer occupies a third of my liver, and though its advance may be slowed, this particular sort of cancer cannot be halted.

It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can. In this I am encouraged by the words of one of my favorite philosophers, David Hume, who, upon learning that he was mortally ill at age 65, wrote a short autobiography in a single day in April of 1776. He titled it “My Own Life.”

“I now reckon upon a speedy dissolution,” he wrote. “I have suffered very little pain from my disorder; and what is more strange, have, notwithstanding the great decline of my person, never suffered a moment’s abatement of my spirits. I possess the same ardour as ever in study, and the same gaiety in company.”

I am getting Married.

Yes it is true I am getting married 🙂 Most people I know asked me why. Who with? And so I felt like telling it in this one message. How it is that it happened.

We all know I almost died. Not so many people know that I felt hatred, and anger, betrayal, abandonment. Some might even know that I had simply given up completely. I did not even want to live anymore. And definitely did not believe I could ever love again.
And so I joined Tinder. For all kinds of reasons. And one day I met Andre. He was at the beach like me. He had quit his Masters, his job and was there taking his time resting. I was there recovering my mind and my body. And we met to drink coconut. He told me he would like to climb Pico do Corcovado. I immediately considered that that meant we should be friends forever but not lovers.
I went home. We woke up and it rained and we did the track under the rain. I wanted to go to that beach no one wanted to do it, he agreed to go like that. And that day I already liked him and decided I could never kiss him because the mountain was way more important than one more kiss. I prefered the climber than one more kiss that I would forget hours later.

And then I got my period that same day and I could not do anything. No climbing, nor difficult tracks. I had period cramps. I told him about it. He did a massage to eliminate my pain. Then in hours we kissed. And then he never left my house.
Carnival was about to come and we decided to go to Venezuela to climb Roraima. He met my parents, my grandma, I met his family. We went to the north and then crossed to Venezuela. We spent 7 days in Mount Roraima and then spent more than 40 days in the rest of Venezuela. We crossed the country learning all there was to be learned from all sides.

We came back and we took my grandmother and her 89 year old friend to the beach. We walked every single day with them. We went to the sea. And suddenly I was happy beyond belief.
“Let’s go to India?!””

He was apprehensive. The tickets were expensive. He realised how important it was for me to go back to Asia. He agreed to that. And then he was called for an interview and two days laters we are in Sao Paulo and he is hired.

“Are you sure Andre? Do you want to live in Sao Paulo? We can’t even go to India anymore! You are not even from here.”

“We can go later.”

“Let’s get married than ; ? but it has to be secretely?! ;)”

“Why do you want to hide it? ”

“No, I am apprehensive. I already got married before. Parties of marriages are so complicated. I will ask my grandmother what does she think about a secret marriage.”

“Julieta what a silly idea. We will celebrate it. ! ”
And then my parents were totally into the idea. So were his parents.
So, we are getting married.

It will be on the 91st birthday of my grandmother. It will be on the beach. It will be spring. I will be barefoot. I have a dear friend who will do a Tibetan Brazilian ceremony for me. I met her in front of Dalai Lama. She took me to meet Karmapa, Lama Lobsang, Rinpoche. She is my friend. The Judge will also come.

There will be music played by amazing musicians who I know, and who I have seen playing so many times in Cidao.

The photographs will be done by someone who became my friend this year. I met her in the beach. I also met Andre this year.

I did not invite many people. I simply invited close friends, and people I deeply respect.
My invitation is done by a great friend. It carries a tibetan eternal knot on it.
The gift is the presence of these people who can come to our party. It will be also a donation to Nepal.

I am not getting married because I am pregnant. I am getting married because the past 7 months I have spent 24 hours a day with Andre. Those were wonderful days. There is nothing exceptional about it. Simple joy to be alive, to love and to be loved.

And now we plan to go next year to Iran, to Burma or India for our honeymoon.
With love,