Life can change in an instant. Sometimes the news is not totally unforeseen; other times it comes out of the blue and hits you with a baseball bat. As I learned last week when you least expect it, a phone call comes not once but twice.
After my recent annual biopsy for prostate cancer, they submitted my tissue samples for a genome study. I had great hope the results would confirm we could continue to actively monitor this condition. But early last Wednesday the urologist called and did not give me the answer I wanted. As the conversation started, he paused and said the results showed a medium aggression level of cancer. As a result, they are recommending treatment. His office would now set up two appointments. One with the radiology oncologist and the other with his office to discuss surgery options. Yikes! At this moment, my world came to a stop. While this condition currently is not life threatening, the reality slapped me in the face, hard. To work through this, taking off work for a long walk in the afternoon sounded like a good plan.
Then the phone rang: my wife Morgan called to say she was experiencing a low heart rate. She did not have any history of heart issues. I urged her to immediately call the doctor. As this news started sinking in, I called her back. She did not answer but a coworker answered her phone. She said the fire department was on the scene and Morgan was being loaded into an ambulance. She tried to comfort me by saying her color was good and she was in good spirits.
What! Fire Department and EMS! The world started spinning around as this information started settling in. Everything else stops and nothing else matters when confronted with a life situation like this.
After arriving at the emergency room, I found the ambulance had not arrived. The waiting seemed like many long agonizing hours, but in reality, it was only a few minutes. During this time, your mind races, playing out all sorts of scenarios. It is not fun because you are on high alert.
Upon her arrival, we were comforted that she was conscious and smiling. But, when the love of your life has chest pains, a heart rate in the 30s and 40s and is skipping a beat, you put on a happy face to be of comfort. But, inside, your world is spinning faster and faster. After nine hours in the emergency room (a different story for a different day) she was finally moved up to a room on the cardiac ward.
The initial thinking was she may need a pacemaker, but after a few tests, they were concerned. Concerned that there was a possibility of an aneurysm which would not be good. When you have been married for 28 years and your spouse is your partner in life, the possibility of losing them is very frightening. I spent one evening pushing the “what if” thoughts out of my brain. At times like this, you just have to pray and pray and trust and believe in God upstairs.
Well, bad things never came and Morgan is a new owner of a brand-new pacemaker. Looking back, the warning signs were there. For months, she complained she was always tired and nauseated. This is a lesson to pay attention.
We are so thankful because things could have been much worse. Life is good and we still hope to walk across Italy this summer.
It took a while for me to learn but you always have to look for the best of any situation. This was another reminder that family, friends, faith and health are what is important during this journey on planet earth. Yes, I have been working many hours late at night growing my business and writing about life. I am not sure why, but this day was another kick in the pants and a reminder about life.
Situations like this can be a lesson for all of us. Focus on what matters. Don’t wait; follow your passion and get the best out of life because this may be our only rodeo. You never know when life can change in an instant.
I urge you to get outside and go for a walk. Take a family member, friend or go solo. Talk or think about the people you love and are important in your life. Make it a goal to tell them you care about them every time you have contact with them. It will make a difference for everyone.
Are you in?
Contact Gregg Patterson at Gregg.firstname.lastname@example.org.