One of the fears that most people have as they age is the loss of health. I know this because as it has become a real life situation that I happen to be facing. I am facing surgery in a couple of weeks and the fear and surrounding grief associated with this loss is taking a toll on me.
I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.
In my case, fear is irrational but it is present nonetheless. I have every reason to believe that the surgery will be successful and that I will live to a comfortable old age. Yet, there is fear and the doubt that comes from think all of the possible “What if’s” that creep into my mind. This is where the internet becomes a blessing and a curse. There is a lot of good information and options that are detailed in the various websites but there are also the horror stories of what people have had to live through.
Based upon my diagnosis, the doctors say my options are chemo or surgery. Surgery being the surest form of treatment, it is the course that I have opted for. Knowing this, I have tried to prepare and to get my affairs in order. Nothing like facing surgery to make you consider your Health Care Directive. By the way, I encourage everyone to take the time to consider your estate and how you want to be treated if there needs to be decisions made regarding your health and you can’t make them yourself.
Being aware and planning for something like surgery is much different than having an accident that causes you to be admitted and treated for injuries. When our son was born, we were involved in a head on collision with a drunk driver. Nancy was 8 1/2 months pregnant and the accident sent her into labor. I, on the other hand, was in another hospital miles away from her being treated (maybe re-constructed is a better word) for catching the engine of our import car in my lap.
Also, there is a big difference of being hospitalized at 26 than it is being hospitalized at 66. At 26, I was optimistic about my recovery and looking forward to healing, getting back home, enjoying a growing family and building a budding career. At 66, I am happy to get up each morning, greet the new day and spend time with my grand daughter(s). Your priorities change and you begin to value time in a much different way.
Each person grieves in their own way and letting go of what you are makes it possible to embrace what you will become. You can’t hold onto both. So I am resolved to accept that I will have a new normal and that together, Nancy and I will make our way through this unknown territory. That together we can bridge what is left behind and look for the best of what is yet to be.