In fact, I'm still ambivalent about being purely in the present, fully engaged in the here-and-now. Why? Partly because an element of my recovery from treatment the first time was about gradually recovering a sense of the future and of the importance of planning for days, months, and years ahead (see Be Here Now ... I don't think so). I saw the movement from concentrating simply on one day at a time (and even one hour at a time while in hospital) to a growing sense of optimism about the future as a sign of health.
Now, with recurrence not just a probability but a fact, I'm thrust back into the present, not by choice, but simply by circumstance.
Too many people, in my opinion, sanctify "living in the present" and needlessly denigrate human planning and thinking about the future. Clearly, there is some kind of balance to be achieved here. But cancer makes achieving balance that much harder. In moments of melancholy, I truly feel like the future is being stolen from me, that there is something "personal" about all of this, that the injustice of it all warrants an agonizing scream for fairness. Obviously, those thoughts are not especially healing or useful. But they are part of me.
And then there are the people I love. At times, living in the purely present seems like a betrayal or failure of those I love. Sure I may feel more at peace with life, sickness, death and the universe, but that doesn't help my business associates, my immediate family members and close friends. In fact, sometimes it seems like avoidance, a simple failure to participate in life.
It's not all that bad, of course. If balance is the most appropriate metaphor, then I just have to get back on the bicycle and "feel" my way forward. Like so many things in life, facing recurrent cancer (at least psychologically) is about finding equilibrium again.
And in the spirit of getting back on the bicycle, I think I'll go mow the lawn...