William Shatner's Experiences after Doctors Told Him He Would Die Soon
In 2016 the famous Star Trek actor William Shatner, who plays the intrepid Captain Kirk, had a totally different encounter with death. A doctor told him that he had a terminal illness and that he was going to die soon.
Wait a second. This was something completely different from what I experienced before. I had become very good at being nice; I always came home at the end of each funeral. At that moment I was bewildered, I did not know how to react to this news. It was a real funeral we were talking about. Mine.
"You have cancer," the doctor told me. There must be some mistake, I thought. This happens to other people, not me. The diagnosis was the final result of a chain of events that began with my curiosity.
Reading a magazine, she had learned that researchers had discovered that cancer cells emit a protein that essentially announces their presence.
The scientists had developed in turn, a test that can identify this protein. It is an extremely sensitive test. My wife, Elizabeth, and I decided to submit to this test.
When the test revealed that she had cervical cancer, we went through a month close to hysteria, but other doctors conducted more thorough tests and found nothing. That test was too sensitive, it was the answer they gave me.
Then the diagnosis of prostate cancer. My oncologist explained that prostate cancer is sometimes very aggressive and that it can be also so benign that it will die of something else long before it kills me. It kills me? That could not be happening.
To find out what type it was, he took my PSA, a marker for this disease. Until then I had been in one or two, well within safe limits. "It's a ten," he reported. "It's aggressive cancer." Ten! My body had betrayed me.
I've always felt like the great comedian George Burns, who lived to be a hundred: he could not die while he was on reservations. And my schedule was too busy to find the time to die.
On an intellectual level, I understood my prognosis; I had made my will, which said that when I die, this person will receive this, that person will receive that. But emotionally, I was sure I would never die. I denied it. For me, all I could do was my will, then having a good piece of strudel. Death did not apply to me.