Every month when I receive Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, O, I immediately flip through to the last page and read her column, “What I Know For Sure.” I love it! It’s short and to the point and usually has a message so powerful that it hits me right in the pit of my stomach.
The last seven weeks have been among the most difficult of my life. Since the first edition of my book was printed some 20 years ago, sharing my personal experiences has made my life an “open book.” Personal information about my family, however, has been kept to a minimum… until now!
I have my husband Tony’s permission to share the following.
Eight years ago, my husband was diagnosed with a very rare form of leukemia (LGL). He has been hospitalized nine times, had blood transfusions every week for six months and had surgery due to complications from his diabetes. Seven weeks ago, he had a severe kidney stone attack and has since been hospitalized four times! On one admission into the ER, his fever reached 104.7 and was accompanied by chills, vomiting and hallucinations. The last hospital visit was precipitated by a “safe” outpatient procedure. Tony had a severe reaction to the anesthesia! (Perhaps four anesthesia procedures in six weeks is just too much for anyone, let alone someone with Tony’s medical background.) I was convinced that this night he would not pull through!
But he did! He came home weak and tired but as bright and positive as ever! He even got out of bed the next day to fix my copy machine, scan important papers for an HSF grant application and help me order invitations for the HSF fundraising gala.
What I Know For Sure – My husband is a role model for how to deal with illness and chronic disease! He never complains. Although he has to take insulin and 15+ other medications a day, he never complains. Although he has to see many doctors on a weekly or monthly basis, he never complains. Tony’s strength, positive attitude and determination to live to be 100 are constant reminders that health and wellness can be achieved no matter the circumstances. Tony combines it all with faith and love and then passes it on to me, my children and grandchildren!
I always thought that the HSF was my organization, my purpose and passion, but I see now that it is “our” organization, for it has played a major role in our healing process! By giving, we have received above and beyond our expectations! We go from the somber reality of doctors’ offices to recruiting sponsors, selling tickets, delivering invitations, soliciting silent auction donations and even looking for a dress for me for our upcoming fundraising gala. The special event and everyday aspects of running a nonprofit organization distract us from our own aches and pains and force us to take our minds off scary situations and focus instead on ones that are loving and fun-filled. How incredible God’s plan!
So my message for you, my dear readers, is… don’t ever give up or give in! If you are dealing with health, work or family issues – and most of you are – reach out for help! If your family is far and your friends are few, extend your circle out into your community. Tap into your local school, medical or faith-based organization… any place that offers support, guidance, hope and consolation. Good health, like anything else, thrives when there’s “a village” to help you succeed!
Here’s to your health,