Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thinking About Mortality

I 'd like to thank everyone who wrote condolence comments about Spike and who inquired about me. I'm okay. Losing Spike was very difficult for me. With the death of my mother last October, my dog Murphy in December, and now Spike, I feel like I've seen too much death in too short a time period.

And in the midst of all this, I went for a mammogram and it was "irregular," so I had a few days of terror before I realized this was the same nodule that was benign more than 25 years. I can't believe I forgot about it, but I didn't realize this nodule was in the same place. Anyway, I had a second mammogram plus a sonogram last week (two days before we had to put Spike down), and there's nothing to worry about.

Still, all of this made me think about my own mortality. I don't know about you, but the few times I've had death scares, I've asked myself, "If I have a limited time to live, am I doing what I want to be doing?"

What was truly great is that for the first time, I could answer, "Yes." For all intents and purposes, I've "cured" myself of this illness. I'm working on my eBook, Bipolar Depression Unplugged: A Survivor Speaks Out, which they're going to publish as a paperback, and I'm writing a proposal for a new book on wellness. Also, I've posted 394 times since February 2007. Now that's an accomplishment of which I'm very proud indeed.

My son is happy, and he's decided to return to Cal; it's a long story and one I'm not going to tell for privacy reasons, but it's a good decision for him. My husband is happily painting; he's taking a figure drawing class and a plein air painting class, and he's healthy.

With part of my inheritance, we've been able to fix some things on our house, and finally have a bit of financial security (for the first time since I was forced to stop working because the medication was inducing erratic behavior).

Also, I'm playing a lot of music and that makes me very happy. In the fall, I'll be taking a dark room photography class, a music theory class, and singing (again).

And, I have re-established relationships with old friends, and made a host of new friends through this blog! How great is that!

The only thing I need to do is to start talking with people about healing and wellness, but I'm working on that as well.

Every once in awhile, I believe it's important to take stock of my life to ensure that I'm moving in the right direction. I usually don't need a "death scare" to do it, but this time I used my fear to think about my present and my future, and I was delighted by what I found!

17 comments:

naturalgal said...

Hi Susan,
Glad you are okay. I am happy for you that you are doing what you want to do.

GirlBlue said...

I have had a similar experience to you where mortality on the whole was thrown into my face when I was not ready. My mother died on April 3, 2005, my grandmother on April 23, 2006, at the end of July 2006 I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, its been quite the ride.

Glad everything else is going well with the son and the hubby and also getting your book paperback.

Gianna said...

what a profoundly wonderful thing to come out of a very sad and painful time.

I'm happy for you.

Wellness Writer said...

Thanks Naturalgal!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Girlblue,
Sorry to hear about all the sadness and loss you've experienced. Hope you're okay. Let us know!

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Thanks Gianna. Love you!

GirlBlue said...

Oh no worries I'm fine now, still missing my loved ones very much but cancer free.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Girlblue,
So glad to hear that you're cancer-free. I know how difficult grieving is!

Susan

Bradley said...

I'm sure I'm grossly paraphrasing but I once read from Helen Kubler Ross that "death is necessary to remind the rest of us to get on with life."

That seems exactly what you are doing and it's a beautiful way to handle it.

Wellness Writer said...

Bradley,
I don't know what the original Kubler-Ross quote is (I loaned someone her book years ago), but we can all learn from the way you've paraphrased it.

Perhaps one of the primary values of having been so terribly ill with bipolarity was that it forced me to figure out "my life mission," to clarify what makes me happy and what makes me unhappy, to determine which people I wish to spend my life with and which people I no longer want in my life, and a host of other important choices.

Sometimes I feel sad that it took so long to figure it all out; other times I feel blessed because I know so many people who are still struggling!

Susan

Syd said...

Susan,

I'm glad that you're okay. In fact, it sounds as if you're better than OK. What an inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

Wellness Writer said...

Thanks Syd. Yes, I truly am better than okay!

P.J. said...

Susan,

My condolences on the loss of Spike.

I enjoyed reading your post today because it was so reflective. It's like you are able to see it from a different view and not just from being in the middle of it. I love reflective, thought-provoking, inspiring posts, and that's exactly what you've done.

May God bless you today.

Rob Johnson said...

Susan,

I'm glad that you're dealing well with the difficult issues in your life. It's always a positive thing when we can examine our lives and have no regrets.

I'm typing this from my friend's hospital room. He's been here for two weeks. They did an MRI and found something. They are sending him for a different MRI to see if they can figure out what it is. This after having a kidney and adrenal gland removed for an aggressive form of cancer.

So, your topic about mortality has been hitting me pretty hard the last two months. First, when a good friend committed suicide and now, with another friend in the hospital crying out that he just wants to die when the pain gets too intense. As sad as it is, I didn't really care if the news from the MRI was bad, I just wanted to know what was causing his pain. It is so difficult to watch him suffer.

As for my life and where it's at, I'm not happy with it, but I'm not sure what direction to take it. I'm like a boat adrift at sea. In terms of this moment, as tired and exhausted as I am, I know being here with my friend is the right thing to do and, in the end, I won't have any regrets about that.

Rob

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Rob,
You're a wonderful friend, and I agree that sometimes we do what we do because we care so much about the people we love that it's our only option.

I'm so sorry about the pain your friend is suffering. And I know how difficult this must be for you. Compounded with the loss of your other friend, you must be emotionally and physically exhausted.

I think that sometimes--when we're focused on friends or relatives who are dying--it's too much to figure out where we want to focus our own lives. And we just need to wait for the crisis to pass to think about what we want for ourselves.

That somewhat happened to me during the two years my mother was really sick. But, because her illness was lengthy, there was plenty of time for me to pursue new areas of interest--while she was sick.

I continued working on writing projects, but I also started taking classes at my local community college in photography, and now music.

Music has been a lifelong interest and I can't imagine why I stopped pursuing it. And photography is totally new.

So...I believe there's always hope for growth and change.

Susan
P.S. A big hug from Los Angeles. You sound like you need it!

Rob Johnson said...

Susan,

Thank you for the hug.

"I think that sometimes--when we're focused on friends or relatives who are dying--it's too much to figure out where we want to focus our own lives. And we just need to wait for the crisis to pass to think about what we want for ourselves."

I totally agree. I'm on auto-pilot right now and will be in that mode until he goes home. At least I'll have the weekend to rejuvenate in the event I'm back here next week.

Rob

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Rob,
Know that I'm thinking about you and hoping for the best for your friend!

Susan