Good morning and happy Sunday to you.
I hope you’ve had a beautiful, happy, blessed week. If you did then you know there’s so much to be grateful for so please take a moment and really honor how blessed you are.
If you didn’t – if your week was tough, bumpy, a struggle – then I’ve found it even more important to find something to be grateful for because if we don’t, life can soon snowball into depression.
I had a tough, bumpy week and I am so incredibly grateful for it all.
The bumpiness actually started a week ago last Friday when I went to see my doctor. It really started a few months before when a friend had set me up to get a full body CT scan. I thought it would reveal that I was the healthiest 58 year old ever. I was this confidant because I’ve been a vegetarian for 25 years, I’ve never smoked, my cholesterol numbers are perfect, my blood work even better, and I work out every single day.
What could possibly be wrong?
The CT results however revealed there was “a serious problem” and I needed to see heart specialist “as soon as possible.”
I waited two months – part denial, part busy, part. …actually, all denial.
Good instincts because when the Doctor walked in Friday morning he informed me he had “bad news.”
He said. “You have severe plaque buildup in your left anterior artery and that if it’s in a bad position then you’re lucky to be alive.”
He said when this artery is blocked it’s called “the widowmaker because really healthy people just drop dead from a massive heart attack.”
Second opinion please!
I know he kept talking after this last sentence but I didn’t hear another word and was in complete shock. I did catch enough to know that I was to come back in on Monday for a stress test. He said, “The results will reveal what to do next.”
So from Friday to Monday I went on the Internet and read everything I could read on the subject. Understandable but not a good idea because most all of it was, well…not good.
I was such a mess I didn’t even realize it was Father’s Day on Sunday until my daughter called to tell me how happy she was to have me as her dad. I didn’t say anything to her but when we hung up I sat and cried for a good long time.
I taught Sunday in a fog and come Monday walked into my doctor’s office, this time with my sweetheart, Melissa, who if possible was more sad and scared than me.
The stress test would reveal whether the plaque was just lining the artery or blocking it. Considering how extreme the numbers were from the CAT scan if it was blocking it I was facing immediate open-heart surgery.
They hooked me up to the monitors and then the doctor came in, got me on the treadmill and the stress test began (never before has a test been more aptly named by the way).
Fifteen minutes later he turned everything off, printed the reports and smiled the biggest smile as he said, “There is zero blockage. This couldn’t be better news.”
Understatement of the century.
Last night Melissa and I hosted our annual year-end “thank you” party for our students. It’s always a very special evening because it’s our chance to thank every single student for the honor of teaching and helping them with their dreams. In turn, we have them bring THE one person above all others whom they’d like to thank for supporting and believing in their dreams as well.
To say the least, it’s an evening full of enormous gratitude and considering my week, last night took on even more significance. In fact, I’ve been so incredibly grateful all week long for my life – the good, the bad, and the ugly of it.
All of it.
I got a peek at my life possibly ending way sooner than I thought and I am so incredibly grateful for that peek.
It has humbled me.
It has slowed me way down.
It has given me extreme appreciation for this precious gift called my life.
I hope and pray this level of gratitude never leaves me. It has made me more kind and patient and present and peaceful.
I like it. A lot.
It feels really good and I want to feel really good.
I’m sharing all this with you in hopes that something in here really touches you so that you don’t have to hear “really bad news” to appreciate just how truly blessed and lucky you are to be able to live your life.
To love and get loved.
It’s really all that matters.
My love and best to you all. Always, Jim