Perspective is a brutal mistress. She smiles at you sweetly, then slaps you in the face. Hard.
Two years ago I had a double mastectomy.
I'll let that sink in...took a while for me as well...
Yup, after several specialists and a lot of introspection, I decided that the risk was too great and had everything removed. I am part of the 1%. One of 2,000 men who have breast cancer-related surgery every year.
The surgery was long, the recovery was longer and I had an awfully long amount of time to think. For those of us with over-active minds, sitting and thinking for days on end is never a good idea.
Now, before you think this is a cry for sympathy or a call out to fill my page with comments, understand that this information is merely to illustrate the sharp right turns that Ms. Perspective can force you to make. Of course, I never saw it coming and still don't think that I have allowed it to fully permeate my psyche, but it did have a profound impact on my priorities.
First, I realized that I wasn't any good to my family dead. Harsh, painful, honest. I HAD to start taking care of myself.
Then, I shortened my list of close friends and broadened my respect, admiration and love for those within my inner circle. The cliche of 'your true friends are the ones who stand by you when times are worst' is absolutely correct.
Finally, I needed to experience every moment of every day. I am still working on this. Life has a way of forcing routine which tends to foster complacency. It is in our nature to follow a pattern, find security in it, and embrace that security due to fear of change. I have made many impactful changes over the last two years due to the understanding of the frailty of life. Not only my life, but all those I care about.
Today, I spoke to a dear friend of mine about breast cancer: the surgery, the recovery, risks and so forth. She is going in for surgery in a couple of weeks to remove a cancerous mass.
She is scared. The Mistress sucker-punched her. I plan to help my friend heal her wounds, find her way, and make it through this.
Please...kiss your children, hug those close to you, love yourselves. There are no guarantees, except for what you do today, right now.