Saturday, December 3, 2011

Illness, a Look With New Eyes

"I will act as if what I do makes a difference." poet and writer, William Blake
Debilitating illness has plagued mankind as long as anyone may imagine. Yet the human spirit ever resourceful, ever hopeful, bounds back into the realms of life. Unable to quash the spirit and its boundless potential, Susan Nessim was inspired to write about her spiritual, physical and medical journey with cancer. She writes in her book, Cancervive, now revised as: Can Survive, that for her, the roads she traveled were difficult and long, but ultimately fruitful for her spirit. Writing to share her experience, Nessim encourages others along the path she's followed from illness to recovery; for some it is not recovery so much as living, surviving with illness. She writes to encourage one and all. You are more than your diagnosis! Even when the diagnosis changes, you are more than those few words.

"One of the most frustrating things," she writes is, "... allowing disease to dominate their thoughts to such an extent that it undermines their life." With diagnosis you may easily be transformed from a person to a 'patient.' One thing is certain, however, significant illness is change. As a patient your day may easily become structured around your symptoms and treatment. Perhaps you obsess about little changes, you go to websites where others with similar diagnosis carry on at length about their treatment, their moods, their medications, etc, etc.  
Possibly even, you may be attracted to groups who claim advocacy and support. They may be in fact, groups who exist for their own, other purposes, their political agendas; like a sort of union, they may need you for less obvious reasons, for money, for prestige, for access, or for a myriad of other considerations. So do just what truly matters to you. Uniquely you. Let your decisions be from a spiritual basis. The rest will follow.

Learning to cope is essential for those living with serious illness. Cure may just be a chase for perfection, something that may not be. Perhaps acceptance of the dilemma in which one now exists is preferable; acceptance of oneself is an important spiritual act; it may be slow in coming, but ultimately it is the most satisfying to discover one's unique talents and blessings, despite everything else. Looking with new eyes, remaining in the stillness of the beating heart is often enough. Learn to smile, because this is the day that has been made; let us all rejoice and be glad in it.

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