Friday, July 3, 2009

Our Lives - We Need a "20-year Plan"

Well, a few hours after Google decided that I follow no blogs, it changed its mind, and my blog list reappeared. I almost wish it hadn't. Half of the blogs I follow mentioned "Bad news" at Rivka's. I went over to Rivca's blog with trepidation.
Rivca has bone cancer. In her words:

"Diagnosed with DCIS (stage ZERO breast cancer) at age 39. Three surgeries and 2 years later... I became a statistical anomaly: breast cancer mysteriously metastasized to my bones, liver and lungs.
Diagnosis: Cancer is a "chronic illness." You can live with it.
Translation: I hope to be on chemotherapy for a LONG time!"

And Rivca has (had?)a 20-year plan.: What she wants to do in the next 20 years. Her doctor, on hearing "20 years" was a bit sceptical, but... Rivca in her blog, is pretty upbeat, and seems to enjoy life, as we all should.
Well, her cancer has spread to the brain. She suddenly realized that giving herself 20 years was a REAL long shot. I can't imagine that that realization was very easy.
* * *
Now contrast that with what my poor son-in-law (the one who keeps getting into situations that most people only read about)witnessed on Wednesday. He saw (yes, unfortunately really saw the whole thing)a woman commit suicide by jumping 12 floors. [My husband, who used to work in chevra kaddisha, once told me that if teenage girls knew what they looked like after a jump, they would never do it....]
This lady , who apparently was newly divorced, decided that life wasn't worth living. May we never be in a situation that ending one's life looks tempting...I don't want to judge this lady negatively. And yet....
* * *
While there ARE miracles, and Rivca could get her 20 years, it is not likely.I hate to say it, but extreemely unlikely. I think that in such a situation one could (a little bit) hope for a miracle, but certainly not expect it. One would need to trim the list "20-year list" down and do the most important things in the first several years.
But we need to be upbeat enough to not be too caught up in our future. None of us really knows how long we have. We need to plan goals, live with an umph, as Rivca does.

And, I tell myself, wishing for a 20 year plan won't by itself make it happen. If I want to live 20 more years, I have to exercise, curb my appetite, and take my life, as much as I can... into my own hands.

And most important, we need to make our lives LIVES. An existance worth living. Where others count. Where we contribute to the world.


Batya said...

I blogged about RivkA, too. She's so amazing.

We never know...
For me, living 20 more years would be outliving 3/4 grandparents. But B"H both my parents are still alive.

At Birkat HaChamah I wondered if I'd live to the next one. If so, I'd be a year younger than my father is now...

Shabbat Shalom

rickismom said...

I assumed, at birkas hachomah that I would not make the next one. My talmid chochem son told me off for that, but if I stay this weight my chances of another 28 years are pretty nil....

Karen said...

I happen to know RivkA IRL and have for a long time. Her wish for another 20 years is a bit of a long shot and she knows it, but it is not entirely unrealistic. I was not aware of this until she was diagnosed, but cancer treatment has progressed incredibly in just the last few years. And her case is such an anomaly -- stage 0 cancer metastasized, which just isn't supposed to happen -- that the doctors really can't make any predictions about it, for good or for bad. Until this latest development it had been completely stable for the last 2 years, since the metastasis was discovered, and this latest bit can be easily cleared up with radiation, which she is undergoing now. So we're hopeful.

You, on the other hand, need to get the weight off if you want to be around that long. You will also feel like a different person if you do. I have lost 70 pounds so I know how hard it is, but I also know that it can be done. I didn't do anything remarkable, just started swimming almost every day and watched what I ate. It took about a year and a half. I don't know how old you are, but based on the ages of your children I'm assuming that you can't be THAT old, and to assume that you won't be around for the next birkat hachama is very sad. Unlike RivkA, you control your fate, and it isn't too late. The goal isn't to get down to a size 4, or even a 10. Every pound that you take off makes a difference.