Reality Check

I don’t know how you handle challenges but since this diagnosis I’ve become more self centered. I didn’t see it happening but all the appointments, surgery, and treatments meant that everyone’s schedule revolved around me. And pretty soon there was a lot of “Woe is me” talk… Thankfully, last week I was reminded that I’m not the center of the universe…

The first thing that happened was Matthew’s doctor appointment. I’ve talked about his dentist and how much we love her before. We still do.

Matthew needed to have a tooth fixed and the dentist wanted to get some good xrays. In the past anything beyond a gentle cleaning involved general anesthesia. She wanted to try a less involved sedation so we arrived early in the morning and she gave him some concoction that would relax him. It relaxed him, but not enough so a second dose was given. After more wait time we took Matthew into the room. He was relaxed but fear is mighty powerful and the poor guy used all his strength to keep from lying back in the chair. I was sure the dentist would call it quits but with four of us talking and holding his octopus-like arms, legs, and head we persevered. Matthew now has a shiny new tooth that he’ll gladly show you (he doesn’t remember being scared–thankfully). But as I was laying across his legs gripping his arms with the bright dentist light shining in the general direction of his face I thought, at that moment, Matthew was the center of my universe.

The second interesting thing happened on Friday when I went in for chemo. In the chair next to me was a younger woman and in the chair next to her was her sister. Each was diagnosed with a different kind of cancer one day apart last year. Both had metastasized and spread already. The sister who was closest to me leaned over and whispered how her sis nearly died several times last year. This woman, while undergoing her own surgery and therapy, managed to become caregiver for her sibling. They talked to me and assured me that all tests showed they were both beating their cancers. And as they talked I was struck by how each talked about the other, holding each other up. They were too busy worrying about and taking care of each other to become self-centered.

My own detours in the road seem minor today. Both of these incidents reminded me how much easier life’s challenges are when you focus on the needs of others. Today I’m going to make a list of how I can help someone else and then go forward.

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