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The "after" of life-threatening illness
on April 12, 2007
"In noisy wards crowded waiting rooms of country hospitals and clinics, in quiet private rooms in medical center pavilions or in well-appointed waiting rooms, examining rooms, or offices, wherever there are patients, there are long moments of silence, pauses, sometimes preceded by a sigh, a transient stillness when the air feels heavier."
So starts this book--and if you have "been there" for yourself or with a loved one, you know about the silence pauses, the sighs, the anticipation.
Written 10 years ago, and just updated, most of the information will never go out of date because of the perspective we all have: the reality of hearing you have a major illness.
Most people don't give much thought to the meaning of life--how long will they live? This big question brings up the connection between what ails the body, and their soul's need for authenticity, love and purpose.
Most medical doctors work with statistics, based on what you have: "You have about X years/months to live," and usually are not interested in stories about recovery. At those times, WE must take charge of our life and our attitude.
The author says: Once we take the soul seriously--and this is one of the innate beliefs that human beings do have--then we are spiritual beings on a human path rather than human beings who may well be on a spiritual path.
The author is a psychiatrist who understands how one person's diagnosis affects many around them--a decent into another world. Here is where that line between health and wellness is crossed and we enter the realm of the soul.
Before "the discovery" that something is wrong, we live in innocence or denial--and then comes the change--the "after."
The author made so many thought-provoking points about being sick, being hospitalized. How we are supposed to act--for the medical professionals, for our family, for ourself.
She discusses the importance of keeping a journal if we have a life-threatening disease, noting both the small and big things of every-day life.
I had a friend who after a long and valiant struggle died of cancer. She called the cancer "a gift" because of an outpouring of love from her friends, family and supportive community that she had never felt before. Today I still think of her life/her attitude as a "gift" to me.
No one gets of life alive--we are all mortal. The author reminds us that the Chinese pictograph for "crisis" contains the ideograms for both "danger" and "opportunity."
Armchair Interviews says: If illness is threatening how you live, this book will give you strength.