Dear Critters, Posted on Pink Tank Scuba 29 Jan ’18
“I don’t often talk about cancer anymore. Having been originally diagnosed in 2010, then rediagnosed in both 2013 and 2014 (when I was told I could not be cured and completed palliative radiotherapy), over time this illness has gradually faded far into the background of my thoughts. Most days I barely think of it at all.
The reality is that life is terminal and I am in no way ‘special’ or unique for the realisation that my time on earth will one day end, except that I have not been given the privilege of denial. And in all truth, that acknowledgement that life is finite has been utterly liberating. It was my greatest wake up call that every day is truly a gift and must be lived to the full.
Recently The Dodo (an online animal advocacy platform) requested to do a follow up interview of their excellent coverage of the Project Banjo #RaysAwareness Campaignthat I led alongside my good friend Jacqui Younger in 2017 which resulted in better outcomes for the beautiful rays of Victoria. However The Dodo’s interviewer Ryan Barrentine revealed that he was a follower and supporter of the Pink Tank Scuba pages, and he was keen to also talk about my life, my ‘Scuba Vs Tumour’ journey and my obsession with marine life including spider crabs, octopuses and cuttlefish as well.
Despite the fact that I would much rather be behind a camera than in front of it, Ryan did an outstanding job in producing this video which is a really well balanced look at where my life is at today. The video attracted over 1.1 million views in the first 48 hours and some of the feedback has been really encouraging. I would like to especially thank film maker Mark Jones and my other dive buddies across the years whose video footage and photos of me have been featured in this video.
And even since this interview was recorded, I have reached another conclusion about my life and how I see it. I’ve decided that while I will happily acknowledge that my oncologists have told me that they cannot cure me, that is their limitation, not mine. The term ‘terminal’ no longer sits well with me (did it ever?) My time could come from any unforeseen cause at any unforeseen moment, and in all honesty I could reasonably outlive those who have given me their best guess at my inevitable cause of death. And the vultures with monstrous crimson wings that once circled over my life, shamelessly waiting to pick the meat from my bones? I have banished forever and am determined to outlive even them.
I have loved reading some of the comments that viewers have left in response to The Dodo Interview and the messages that people have sent through. I guess in summary, what I want to say is this:
Life is short – for all of us. Find what you are meant to do with your life and live every moment fully.
Each day is a gift that should be celebrated.
Live your passion with a sense of purpose, awe and wonder.
Live as though today was your last day on earth – and as if there is literally no end in sight.
Outlive those rotten vultures; all that is good in your life belongs to you, not to them. Don’t let them steal a single thing from you – now or ever.
In four days I will celebrate two significant milestones – another birthday and my Dive 800. My heart is filled with joy and hope of more birthdays and dives to come. Watch out Dive 1000 – you are now officially on my Bucket List. Thank you so much to all who have continued to follow my adventures and who have sent me your words of encouragement both recently and across the years.. You bring incredible joy to my life.
Please feel free to explore some more of my posts, image galleries and videos while you are here (as well as visit Pink Tank Scuba on FB, Instagram and YouTube!) I look forward to sharing more of my adventures with you.
Love and bubbles always,
P T Hirshfield – Melbourne, Australia
The following was posted on PT’s blog on 30 January 2018
As usual you have a unique way of adding optimism and hope to a journey that occasionally lacks a clear road map. About four years ago those vultures landed on a tree just outside my window. My solace is heading into our mountains and rivers to absorb what its really all about. I keep my eye on those insatiable birds but try not to give them undue attention. I’ll be taking the liberty of sharing your posting a little later today on our new blog “We All Deserve Better” https://wealldeservebetter.wordpress.com that focuses on our animal pals and how we can honor and proect them all over the world. I look forward to dive #1,000. All the very best. Michael
Some months ago I received the above photo which made my day, week and month. Thanks PT!!