One of the greatest tragedies in life is to be alive, but not really living. As I’ve experienced over the past couple of weeks, sometimes our fears and anxieties about the things we can’t control in life keep us locked up in a self-made prison of merely existing and going through the motions of each day.
In an earlier post, I shared how over the past few months I’ve been experiencing some serious chest pains. I appreciate all of the messages, comments, and feedback from those of you who expressed you’ve had similar experiences and I kept all of it in mind during my search for answers. After being cleared by a cardiologist I was sent to a GI specialist, who told me it sounded like a heart aneurysm or gallbladder issues. He scoped my esophagus and it was evident I had a bad case of acid reflux. He wrote down the name of a possible pre-cancer diagnosis on the images, which sent me into a panic. He biopsied some places in my esophagus and sent me to get a CT scan of my stomach and chest.
To say I’ve been a little fearful and anxious would be an understatement. As most of you know, we lost my husband, Andrew, to cancer only four years ago this July. So of course, my emotions were heightened and my mind went to the worst possible scenario. It was all I could think about. I didn’t eat much or sleep well. In the midst of doctors’ appointments, blood work, a day surgery, and a CT scan, I found out that my TEDx talk was approved by the TEDx Talk organization and uploaded to their YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/f2icabWsRgk. Such is life. Mountain-top moments while being in a valley.
I don’t like to watch videos of me speaking, as I find I can be my worst critic, but for some reason I made myself watch my TEDx talk. I honestly needed to hear my own message again. Listening to it, I was reminded of the choice I had in the face of results I couldn’t control. I could choose courage even though I was afraid. I could choose my response to this whole situation. I realized although I didn’t know the future, I was alive today. I’ve seen how short and precious life can be and I didn’t want to allow fear to cripple me from experiencing the Now. So I focused on what I could do and chose to believe God is in control.
Life doesn’t stop when our world is turned upside down. I still had another speaking event last week and a young daughter who needed me to be present. Ellie and I headed to stay with Andrew’s parents while I spoke in a town close by. Although at first my mind was preoccupied with my health, I was quickly comforted talking to Andrew’s dad. He’s a doctor and was able to give me more insight into the possible diagnosis. Our conversation brought me some peace of mind and I realized I had a high likelihood of making a full recovery. Spending time with Andrew’s family, the people who were in the trenches with me during the most challenging times of Andrew’s battle with cancer, and getting to speak in one of the towns that helped support our family during the whole experience, helped me to regain a higher perspective on life and my situation. “Sometimes we must look at things from a higher perspective to see what’s really going on.”- Andrew B. Heard, “G for Giraffe,” The Ellie Project.
Next week I’ll sit down with the doctor and go over my results. This could be a big deal or no big deal and, honestly, I’m still a little nervous. But that’s not the point. The point is that this experience over the past few weeks has created inside of me more compassion, understanding, gratitude, strength, and clarity. Choosing to focus on the things we can control and being able to see the gifts we are given during our challenges can bring us more meaning, purpose, and peace through the storm. So if you’re like me and going through a difficult situation that may be creating fear and anxiety in your life, remember this: Focus on what you can control and that’s YOU! You have a choice. Choose Courage, even though you are afraid. “Courage doesn’t come because you are big, strong or without fear. Courage comes because you aren’t big, you aren’t strong you do fear but you don’t give up.” – Andrew B. Heard, “C for Courage Cat,” The Ellie Project
I’ve missed connecting with you over the past couple of weeks and I’m thankful that you chose to spend some of your time with me today! Love and Blessings.
PS – Thank you so much to Accolade Hospice for having me out to speak in Yoakum, TX, last week! It was a pure pleasure and I enjoyed meeting each and every one of you!
PPS- If your were encouraged through my TEDx message and you think others would received value from it I would be so grateful if you would pass the video along to your friends, family, FB communities and other social media outlets. So many of you have already done so and I really appreciate it!