So, Where’s the Gold in the Golden Years?

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

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About drfugawe

I'm a guy with enough time to do as I please, and that my resources allow. The problem(s) are: I have 100s of interests; I have a short attention span; I have instant expectations; I'm lazy; and I'm broke. But I'm OK with all that, 'cause otherwise I'd be so busy, I'd be dead in a year.
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11 Responses to So, Where’s the Gold in the Golden Years?

  1. Frances Quinn says:

    Gosh, Dr., what to say. I am happy your bout is over and that with new glasses you will be able to see better. I am very sorry to hear about your wife’s upcoming surgery. I am not a praying woman but will keep her in mind and hope that everything goes well for her.

  2. I wish you and Sandee well and send positive thoughts around the globe – whether they work on the internet I don’t know, but it’s certainly worth a try 🙂

  3. Tupper says:

    Beautiful post Doc.

  4. Mariana says:

    I do like your rainbow photo – it’s seems reflective of your positive attitude. I wish I tended to look at things with less stress; I think I’m a little like your wife. I was terribly worried about my eye – it was blurry for ages and when the old vision isn’t right, well it affects everything because I feel constantly reminded of it. People really take sight for granted – but every waking moment requires ‘seeing’.

    My dear neighbour gave me some chamomile teabags and I was told to steep them for an hour, and then place over my eye for about twenty minutes. I did this for about three days. Not sure if it was the teabags or what, but it did seem to help. The blurriness has gone, but I do feel some deterioration in my sight in that eye. I was driving myself crazy with constantly “testing” the eye, and then getting more worked up because it was clearly, “unclear”. I’m good at torturing and beating myself up. I’m over it at least for the time being. I always seem to have recurring eye issues. I think because I’m so paranoid about my sight. It’s my most precious sense.

    Anyhow, enough about me. I felt a sense of impending doom during your post, as though things hadn’t worked out for your eye. Not that you sounded gloomy. But I had a feeling. So so sorry to hear about your left eye. You are very uplifting in your writing and your positive nature really comes through – and yes, you’re right; it is the nature of aging. But accepting things, ain’t quite so easy at times.

    I wish your wife all the luck in the world – she sounds like she has some wonderful support in friends, medicos and you. Take care and take care of each other. mariana.

  5. Melissa M. says:

    It’s not easy, but I think that’s what makes the journey so rich. I had a supervisor once (who incidentally, I mostly detested!) who used to say, our lives are colored with such a vast pallette – if we limit ourselves to just wishing for a very few colors, we’re missing so much of what’s so amazing about life – it takes all those many colors to create the depth of our experiences. They all come together to make us who we are and we’re better for coloring with all the crayons. I kind of like that. It’s of course far easier to share such comforting notions with strangers who come to me for help than to make peace with it when it involves those I love the most. This is life, I suppose, and thank you for always giving me such a unique perspective on it all.

    My thoughts are of course with you both throughout all of this and I look forward to a time really soon when your biggest excitement will once again be sourdough starters and weird preserving techniques and this blog will once again be filled with the joy of your cooking. Be well, both of you.

    • drfugawe says:

      And if I may simplify your coloring analogy a bit, it reminds me of the time when, as a five year old or so, you brought us a not-so-neatly and quickly done colored picture – and of course, you wanted praise – but we agonized over whether to reward you for mediocrity, or to encourage you to do better – we agreed we’d try the latter approach – as gently as we could.

      I think we made the better choice.

      Luv ya girl.

  6. Anet says:

    Doc, I applaud your sense of getting-on-with-life attitude and wish for you and San a continuing productive one. I myself am the half-full-glass type of person and find my husband exasperatingly on the half-empty side. But we do complement each other.
    My age is at the middle of the life-road (I think at 61?) but am sad that my body is wearing down faster than I thought it should (I just had back surgery.) My mind is still stuck in the 40’s and 50’s. The two collide now and then.
    Well, I suggest to continue to learn all you can on medical conditions, get the facts first. That motto, “don’t just stand there, do something” does not necessarily apply in these situations — I’d rather go with, “don’t just do something, stand there”!!

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