LAKE OCONEE —
Have you ever been diagnosed with a life altering disease? Have you ever thought your death was going to be sooner than what you had expected? Such an occurrence can serve as quite a gut check!
I have had the occasion to face what I felt might be my premature death. A number of years ago I went to see a dermatologist for a body scan. The doctor said she did not like the look of one of my moles, so she cut out some of it and sent it to the Lab for analysis. I felt sure that she was just being “cautious” and I did not think much about it. Later that week I checked my messages and heard her say, “call me a soon as possible.” My heart began to race as I called her back. The message was “melanoma.” I was stunned and scared.
My life shifted gears; it went into overdrive. The need for knowledge was immediate. I researched the internet and printed reams of information. I did not like what I found. Melanoma is serious business.
Finances were reviewed. My portfolio was not where I had wished it to be at this stage of my life, especially as the market was in a period of correction. Some regrets that I had invested in ABC instead of XYZ. Still there was the satisfaction that my family would be financially viable.
Emotionally, this was an intense period. I'm too young (a relative term), not ready to check out! How would my wife handle this? What would be the affect on my kids of losing their father at this stage of their young lives? My anxiety was lowered somewhat by the incredible loving support offered by my family. Also, the caring expressed by the few friends that were aware of my situation was touching and valued.
Spiritually, this experience was not a challenge. Many people find that it is. I did not get angry at God, blame God, ask to be bailed out by God. The God of love does not cause disease or tragedy. Rather, the spirit of love drives out fear, gives hope and courage to "suit up and show up." I felt that power.
I asked myself what do I need to change in my life? The answer was that very little needed change. I like the way I was living - trying to be all that I can be – taking care of myself, with the priorities of family, a career of helping people, taking time for fun.
The melanoma was excised. The margins were clear. The literature said I had about an eighty-five percent chance of living another five years (about the same percentage of living while driving on 285!) Relief, appreciation, renewed sensitivity to people, and the preciousness of life have emerged. For those who may have a life threatening disease or have experienced the fear of dying, I am now more able to empathize and connect with you. Call me if you like, I will “be there!"