Thursday, August 4, 2011

Keeping Perspective

It's been a tumultuous month.

My Mom suffered a stroke and heart attack. Blood pressure––top number––was over 240. She's lucky to still be alive. But she's still not out of the woods, as she's spent the last 4-5 weeks in and out of critical condition and back and forth from hospital to rehab to back to ICU. Thank God she is fighting to stay alive. Next week is a quadruple bypass for her. Always a risk but there's no alternative as she has only 30% capacity of blood flow through her heart.

I'm writing this very personal post about someone other than myself because it's brought up the inevitable part of life––what if Mom doesn't make it? As my family, close friends––thanks, Ben & Tim––and others have discussed the possibilities, I've noticed something very different about me from the rest of the family. While I'm very sad and know my Mom is in the fight of her life, I've also come to grips with mortality. I talked to my Dad about this the other day––he is also a cancer survivor––and he totally understood. I can only equate this to something I know millions of cancer survivors have gone through and perhaps have a better understanding because of their own face-to-face meeting with death.

I believe when you've stared death in the face––and I'm not talking about thrill seekers who looks for the rush––you find out a lot about yourself. I've written before that there were a few times I didn't think I was going to make it through the night, so I would stay awake to see the sun come through my window. I used to think, "I lived. Now to live another day." It may seem somewhat of a morbid thought. But the power of positive thinking is truly powerful and extremely helpful in the fight against cancer. Even if you don't make it, you die knowing you fought to live to the bitter end.

I love my Mom and selfishly want her to be around for another 70 years. But I also know that death is the most unfortunate part of life and inevitable. That doesn't make it any easier when a loved one, dear friend or anyone else who has been a part of my life passes away.

Right now, it's helping me keep my perspective right where it should be.