The end of the year is upon us. Actually, the end of a two-decade period is just days away.
Remember how in 1999 we were told to turn off our computers and hope for the best? At the time, some said the end was imminent and the world as we knew it was in peril. Well, that didn’t happen! In fact, as with most things, we had both good and bad outcomes. Your outlook on life determines how the time has been to you.
With the end of the year quickly approaching, I had some final doctors’ appointments to see how my health has developed over the past year. Doctors wanted to see if my health had improved or if I have new health issues related to sarcoidosis. By all accounts, I’m doing very well.
One of my appointments this week was with an oral surgeon. After 55 years of no discomfort, I had trouble with a wisdom tooth that needed to be extracted. Go figure! Coincidently, that toothache was causing my blood pressure to spike. The body is a remarkable machine.
Who would’ve guessed?
I’m usually pretty good about mentally preparing myself for doctors’ appointments, but this time I felt anxious. It was unusual for me, because I like all of my doctors; regular follow-up appointments are like visiting old friends. I think this time might have been different because I’ve been thinking a lot about the past two decades and how I’ve changed.
Twenty years ago, I was as healthy as I’ve ever been. I belonged to an exclusive sporting club in Philadelphia and played for athletic teams sponsored by my employer. All around, I was in great shape. A few years later, I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, but that didn’t slow down my athleticism or my zest for living and enjoying life.
As the years progressed, I experienced other medical issues possibly related to sarcoidosis, including sinus polyps and sleep apnea. Honestly, I never allowed myself to dwell too much on my medical issues. To me, to dwell on them means I’m accepting them as mine, and not as something I just have to live with or maybe overcome.
Time to move on
While I was going from appointment to appointment, I had a lot of time to think about where I am now compared with 20 years ago. Sometimes a physician’s waiting room isn’t the best place for someone with serious medical issues to spend a lot of “alone time.” I had a lot of time to think about a lot of things. As the saying goes, “An idle mind …”
I started thinking about all that was wrong with me, per the diagnoses by my respective physicians. Admittedly, I started feeling guilty about my health, as if I had done something to deserve this. I think a lot of people with chronic medical conditions feel the same. Instead of thinking about all that’s right with our lives, we tend to dwell on the problems we face. Sometimes we don’t appreciate all the good we have.
Reflecting on the past two decades, I’ve accomplished a lot while living with sarcoidosis. I raised a family with two children who attended college. Several opportunities bolstered my career, my overall health is good (with a few setbacks), and my biggest triumph thus far is having survived spontaneous pneumothorax multiple times — not to mention eight chest tubes.
All things considered, I have more than enough to be grateful for, and I’m sure the next time you’re sitting in your doctor’s office waiting for an appointment, you’ll think of a number of things you’re grateful for, too. Maybe a doctor’s office isn’t the best place for self-reflection, but when you think about it, maybe it is.
Remember, being thankful isn’t just about the little things, it’s about all things, because you have another opportunity to show everyone what true thankfulness looks like.
So, here’s looking forward to another decade. The last two required a lot from all of us, so let’s show the next decade what we have in store for it. Tomorrow isn’t promised, so today, plan to show up and show out. You have nothing to lose except the false sense of comfort that kept you mentally paralyzed from doing your best.
New decade, new you — it’s time to move on!
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.