I used to be one of those people who boasted about not having a doctor because I was never sick. But then my husband Chris needed a liver transplant, cancer treatments and a burial. In the end of two and a half years of pain and fighting my nervous system took a beating. But, I didn’t realize that was the case until years later.
Other things have happened since then to compound stress to my nervous system and today almost four years after Chris’ passing I know I must deal with life in a different way.
Our bodies are remarkable in their resilience. I know that from experience. When my husband was extremely frail and in need of a liver transplant, I couldn’t imagine how he would ever make the journey back to being a “normal” person. I remember talking on the phone with a woman whose husband had a transplant a year before and heard her saying: “I know you’re wondering how he is going to survive this or go back to a good level of health based on where his mind and body are at now, but he will. The body is amazing.” And that was exactly what happened. Chris had been in his last hours of life when he received his liver transplant. Two months later we were getting married and walking 3 miles a day. His body was back and so was his mind.
I didn’t realize my nervous system was damaged until I started getting skin rashes from nerve endings infections a couple of years later. The rashes were the way my body was telling me; you need to live life differently. If you don’t you’re going to get sick. My unbalanced body was putting me on notice.
When I was younger, my dad used to say to me that health was the greatest gift we had. I must confess I didn’t pay much attention or agreed with his statement – then I could think of many other things that were more pleasurable and fun than just being healthy. I was healthy so I didn’t value it. Years of life have now taught me differently.
Being healthy means a good balance between body and mind. Being healthy means having freedom in life and a smooth aging process.
But being healthy cannot be confused with working out obsessively just for the sake of appearance. Or eating poorly again just for the sake of appearance. Or stressing oneself out to show how much we can get accomplished in a day, hour or in a minute.
Being healthy is about balance between the inside and the outside.
I’ve heard the message and I’m working on a new way of dealing with life’s obstacles. The key is always to put things in prospective, being your own advocate while treating yourself with love and kindness.
Please read on…
The Real Secret to Staying Healthy for Life (Part 1)
by Deepak Chopra
So I was just reading about Mark Zuckerberg’ decision of slaughtering all the meat he consumes. While I’m no stranger to this action – my grandmother used to kill the chickens my family ate in the back of the house – it made me think how much of life we live without consciousness, and how much we lose because of it.
Zuckerberg says by killing his own animal he will profit in two ways: 1 – he will eat healthier and 2 – he will have a greater connection and consciousness when consuming that which is his life force. I’m interested in the latter concept. In this fast world of ours we often behave as if we were sleep walking and the consequence is we lose many opportunities to be grateful and inspired.
When faced with death Nick Charles embraces life and prepares his family for life without him.
Compassion doesn’t only mean stopping wars, feeding the hungry or ending the AIDS crisis. Compassion in its most simple form is our human ability of for a moment being able to step into someone else’s shoes and understand their dilemma.
In 2007, when I first walked into the infusion center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center with my late husband, I was taken by fear. I looked around to the 30 – 40 people there all hooked up to a bag containing chemicals strong enough that signs were posted in the bathrooms asking patients to flush twice. Chris and I looked for two seats together and waited for a nurse to come and hook him up as well.
Immersed in my pain, I turned my face away from Chris because of the tears running down my face. I didn’t want him to see them. A woman sitting next to a man getting his infusion got up, picked up a tissue and without saying a word handed it to me.
by Deborah Calla
I was married at age 20 to a man who was 11 years my senior. When I married the man, I was a recent Brazilian arrival doing a lot of drugs and hanging out with all the wrong people. I thought getting married would settle me down and straighten me out, but instead it marked the beginning of the worst period of my life. The man was intelligent and creative, but he was also possessive, manipulative and had an ego that didn’t allow any other human to occupy the same space as his. Within the first year the intelligent man showed himself as delusional and abusive…Continued
I have just read the below article in the Chicago Tribune. It’s a story of love and courage of a 32 year old woman falling in love and marrying a 31 year old man suffering from a very aggressive cancer.
When Bahar Mallah met Nick Schmidt at a bar in Chicago, he told her he wasn’t drinking because he had cancer. Instead of being thrown off she replied by asking him if that was his best line. By staying there Bahar made the decision to live in the moment and see where it led. Bahar and Nick fell in love and married. And 51 days after their wedding he passed away. Bahar is in a lot of pain now. She misses Nick. But, she is also quick to share she is okay with all the decisions she’s made. She got to deeply experience love and to discover the door within her that was opened by meeting Nick will stay forever open.
One of the good things the internet provides us with is a way to connect with others that have the same interests, experiences or simply want to exchange ideas.
When I started The Love Project Inc. in May of 2009, I was looking to share my thoughts and feelings and find others who wanted to do the same.
At that time I had just experienced many emotionally intimate moments with complete strangers and had learned underneath all differences lie all similarities.
We often cheat ourselves of what life is really about; love. All the time, I hear from others how lucky I am to have experienced love in the way I did with my late husband. I’m told many go through life without ever having experienced such love.
Am I special? Was Chris special? Do I have super-powers? The answer is no to all. But why do I hear time and again that the relationship I had was unique?
I think the answer lies on the fact that Chris – my late husband – and I were not distracted by our own frustration, ambition, and desires.
Today I read Theresa Brown’s “A Dying Patient Is Not A Battle Field” on CNN.Com. Theresa is an oncology nurse in Pennsylvania. She is a leading contributor to The New York Times’ blog Well and the author of “Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between.”
In this particular piece Theresa discusses the end of life of a cancer patient who encouraged by family and doctors decides to continue a losing battle with his illness. The end result was a more brutal death than if the patient had chosen to go home and live what was left of his life the best way possible. Theresa writes if the patient had been given clear information of the consequences of continuing chemotherapy he would have chosen to go home. Most people knowing there is almost no chance for survival would move forward with chemotherapy especially when their bodies are already so weak and fragile.
Nurse Brown, you are so right and wise.
In the last couple of months of my husband’s life it had become clear to me that the end was coming. In the last couple of weeks it was clear the end had arrived.