They say that one’s senior years are their best, but I’m not buying it – it ain’t fun slowly wearing out. However, I know that I am well positioned to absorb the cruelties and challenges of old age, which is good, because I’m old – I’ve always known that I was an optimist and that I had a positive attitude. But now I know just how good that trait is to have as you age. As I read of the latest findings of medical science -a discipline in which I have little faith- I read of the relationship between healing and positive thinking. And I think this is at least one piece that they’ve got correct.
You want some specifics? OK – several years ago my doc told me that my lifelong heart murmur had worsened and that I’d need surgery to repair it. I guess I could have gone into a period of stress and worry, but that’s not the way my brain works. My thought was that I’ve had this weakness my entire life, and now it’s going to get fixed – Damn, here’s a great opportunity for a stronger heart, and resultant better general health. Know what? That’s exactly what happened – I am healthier today than I was 10 years ago.
As I think back on that experience, I can remember thinking of it as an opportunity for a life adventure – and after it was all over, I can honestly say I don’t remember having one bit of pain – now, this fact may well be explained by the nature of today’s wonderful pain meds, which not only keep us from an immediate sense of physical pain, but they also do a great job of removing any memory of anything which might have occurred while under the influence. I can honestly say I enjoyed the experience.
I’d also describe myself as a fatalist – but my brand of fatalism is one that is created at least in part by one’s own attitude – sort of like a personal self fulfilling prophesy. I think this is good because while being optimistic will occasionally collide with rude reality -and disappointment- being fatalistic will prepare you for those times when things simply don’t work out as you hoped they would. While my brand of fatalism has nothing to do with religion, I do believe that things always work out for the best.
And so it was with my eye – after three surgeries, the probable outcome is that my left eye will never be able to function as it once did. I will lose the detail of sight it once provided. But I can’t bring myself to see this as a traumatic loss – after all, my general vision has been lessening for the last 25 years, and no one would think that was unusual or such a tragedy. It is the nature of aging.
Besides, I have another perfectly good eye, which amazingly is ready and willing to make up for any loss of vision that my left eye may experience. And finally I’ll be able to get new glasses soon, and that will be like getting one’s sight back anew.
So, where am I going with this? Well, my beloved always reads my posts, and much of what I write here today is directed toward her. I know her well enough to know that she sometimes wonders if my fatalism and positive attitude is sufficient to do the job – San is a worrier – and she too is getting older each day.
Recently San went for her regular mammogram, and the result showed some suspicious specks deep in her breast – a biopsy was done, and came back positive – on Monday, she will have those tiny specks removed.
I know that Sandee has always feared that she may one day have breast cancer -we all have our own personal fears- and I know that even though she intellectually knows that worrying won’t provide any benefit, she will worry anyway – and I’d like to give her one more reinforcement to counter the worries she will have.
From the time she first learned she needed surgery, San has done exhaustive research on breast cancer (she recommends this book, “Breast Cancer – the Complete Guide”, Hirshaut and Pressman) – and she certainly knows far more than I about it. This is vital, for worry feeds on ignorance, and she has therefore taken the best offense against needless worry.
But here’s what I do know. I know that her ‘specks’ were found very early, and that this is incredibly good. I know that her surgeon is one of the best in our area, and that he considers the risk of her procedure to be very minimal – his words are, “It is neither life threatening or life shortening.” And I know that she has a wonderful support cadre of folks who are there with assistance, encouragement, and that most mysterious but least understood of human powers; good vibes, thoughts, and love.
And she has me – and all my positive energies directed toward her – and I will be doing my very best to put them to work for her now. I hope she is looking forward to her latest life adventure.
Wish us well.
Photo credits: courtesy of Webmd.com