The Luckiest Man

I suppose it was inevitable that everything happening to me would catch up and I would have a few days of being discouraged.

This was go to doctors’ week.  I had good visits with my Neurologist and Pulmonologist, and a full set of pulmonology function tests that are about as close to waterboarding as I ever want to get.

Bottom line is not real news, but does put a seal on my own self-awareness.  I am getting weaker.  I am now walking with a cane full time (or at least when out of the house). Eating anything harder than pudding is a thing of the past. Breathing while lying on my back is getting weaker, so I will begin the process of moving to new breathing assistance in the next week.  It is a little harder for people to understand my speech, so I am concentrating on slowing down and speaking clearly.  And I am using my iPad technology to help in some settings. Finally, the H word has now been said out loud – Hospice.  We will start meeting with them after the summer to better understand the support and services I will eventually require.

So my initial reaction to the two days of medical visits was to be discouraged.

But thankfully the sour mood did not last long. I was told I do not have to worry any longer about cholesterol or blood sugar numbers.  I participated in a series of very important planning meetings for the non-profit organization whose Board I now chair.  Check out and standby as we unveil our new and powerful name in the next month. I had wonderful reaffirming opportunities to talk with family and friends. I had good workouts at the gym.  Roz and I saw a fabulous production of Anything Goes at the Kennedy Center.  I made and shared wonderful smoothies and gazpacho. And we get to spend the evening of the 4th on a small boat with good friends watching and launching fireworks.  We arranged to meet old friends on our upcoming trip to Europe.

I wrote to a friend today that I understood the risk she was taking by putting so many of her emotional eggs in my nest, and told her I will do my best to not drop them. Her loving response reassured me that I can trust and rely on my friends and family to make this journey with me, and that we are all stronger when we are united.

On this day in 1939 Lou Gehrig spoke these memorable words: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”  That is exactly how I feel today, and so much of the credit goes to all of you who are standing by to pick me up when I fall, to ignore my drooling, to concentrate hard to understand me, and see the real me behind this masquerade of my illness.  Thank you!!!

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8 Responses to The Luckiest Man

  1. Barbara G. says:

    I love the metaphor of being in a small boat together. Yes, we are all in the same boat and going to the same destination eventually. The best we can do is take the ride together and be grateful for the time we have together. You are teaching us how to have courage and even hope as we sail along.

  2. Karen Blum says:

    For the last quarter century I have admired a soul that is as big as the sky. Illness does not change that. All who know you, understand the great blessing we have in our lives; experiencing your special wisdom, kindness, and wicked humor. How fortunate I am to have you in my life…

  3. Julie Susman says:

    Stu- I am inspired by your determination and activity to keep going and enjoying life and loved ones by planning and executing small and large adventures. I have so hoped to see you this summer. I had a fall on Monday. Even talking about it seems so trivial compared to the daily/hourly challenges you are facing. I am home on the Eastern shore recovering (key point) from surgery to repair a shattered patella ( knee cap) and dislocated knee joint/tendons etc. , not permitted to drive or bend my leg in any way for 6 weeks.

    If you and Roz, Simon and the kids would like to drive out to the shore, it could be a way to spend a day together that also offers water options from pool to kayaks and motor boats.

  4. Mike Maxfield says:

    Love you, Stuart. Your wisdom and strength have lifted me up so many times over the years, but now more than ever. Thank you for all you’ve done and all you continue to do. You inspire. Hope someday to have half your grace.

  5. Eva Keach says:

    Most of us go through life experiencing trials and grief. Only a few of us are able to inspire others the way you do. Through your writings you have shown us beauty and grace.Thank you.

  6. I am so glad you visited my blog so that I was introduced to yours. What a beautiful, emotional post. Your perspective is amazingly graceful and humble. I admire your strength and courage in the face of such a difficult situation. None of us are guaranteed a long, easy life so the only option is to focus on enjoying the now and cherishing the people we love. It sounds like you are doing an excellent job of both. I look forward to reading your posts and finding out more about the nonprofit you chair. You said my post today made your day. Well, this post of yours made mine.

  7. Your posts are so beautiful, so informative, so inspiring. thank you for giving of yourself in this way.

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