Monday, April 27, 2009

A New Battle

So, here we go, today is a new day, the beginning of a new week and the start of another kind of battle. We have switched to heavier artillery and have changed our battle strategies. As hopeless as it all seemed last week, we are still very much in the fight and will forge on whole heatedly. Because, we don't know how to give up, nor do we have the choice...

You know, when Gagik first started having his health problems, first with the heart and then the cancer, we figured... ok it's a given, I guess it was inevitable, with his family history, and the stressful work and the smoking, all factors that contributed to his current state and it was only a matter of time. Then the more we met with other patients in the many hours we spent in the chemo therapy room or the patient waiting room at the doctors offices, the more bewildered and lost we felt.

Be it the 24 year old College Football player who was escorted to the chemo chair by his father, both with a confused look on their faces, wondering how this could have happened to a young, fit, healthy athlete like him, or the 36 year old, vegetarian, marathon running lady that sat next to us and was crying from being so tired, as she was on her fifth chemo cycle, or the 60 year old man, who had a terrified look in his eyes, filled with regret and self pity, who turned to my husband and said "if only I had smoked and drank, and had not worried so much about being healthy, then I would have something to blame all this on". And yes, there were the pack a day smokers, who couldn't wait to light up a cigarette in the parking lot as soon as they left their chemo session. This disease has no prejudice, doesn't care about race, religion, gender, age, height, weight, it strikes at random and invades your life.

So, it looks like there are no guarantees in life and we can't live in constant fear of what might or might not happen. Yes, we should do all we can to stay active and healthy, but not obsess over it. We need to find the middle, enjoy things in moderation, either extremes can't be good for us. To one extreme we put severe restrictions on ourselves, only to inevitably slip and fall off that wagon and end up with more disappointment and cause more damage. To the other extreme we completely let loos and find ever more self destructive behaviour and end up really hurting ourselves.

So, again moderation.... go ahead and have that glass of wine, or whisky once in a while at the end of the day to unwind, drink it slowly and let the flavor linger on your tongue a bit, or bite into that piece of chocolate you've been eyeing for three days, let it melt slowly in your mouth and really enjoy it, take your kids out for ice-cream now and then, and let them have that extra pump of hot fudge on it, it won't kill them...

Life is getting harder and harder, and people are working longer hours, have less and less time to spend with family and friends, and basically there is not much fun to be had. How many people do you all know, who are really happy and are enjoying life. I remember, when we were kids, my parents had friends over often, they didn't wait for that perfect weekend, or clean the house and put out the good china, their friends would come over, put some bread and cheese and whatever else was in the fridge that day, and a bottle of something on the table, have some drinks, talk, laugh, and to this day they have those great memories to look back on. But, our generation in this society has forgotten how to have fun and enjoy the simpler things. We are too busy making money to own bigger and better things, everything is on a tight schedule, play dates are planned, walks have become part of a workout routine, rather than a leisurely thing to enjoy. And when was the last time we did something nice for someone without expecting anything in return, I'm not talking about filling volunteer hours at your kids school or your church, but a good deed you do for someone out of the goodness of your heart and not as a check mark on your "to do" list. So, let's all slow down a bit, and enjoy this journey, and have some fun while we are at it...

We have become a numb society living in constant fear and consumption as a result of that fear, drowning in self indulgence caused by our dwelling in self pity.

How sad for us.....!

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