September 3, 2019
As many of you already know, I’ve been forced to give up my practice of medicine due to health matters. One of my favorite expressions is, “Man plans and G-d laughs.” I guess G-d is laughing. I fully expected to die while working in the office, not to spend the rest of my life at home or in the doctors’ offices and pharmacy. The transition from doctor to patient has been a real eye opener (to be further discussed in a upcoming book I am writing).
Besides my back pain, Parkinson’s, swollen legs (lymphedema), constipation, and self pity, I have gained 25 pounds and look pregnant. Needless to say, I’ve been asking G-d the “why me” question a lot lately!
So what do you do when you need to be in the office practicing medicine and you can’t? I decided I’d start my blog up again. That’s when I discovered my prior articles had been lost. WHY ME???
To make a long story short, today an IT person at GoDaddy helped me recover my old articles and my blog, www.livewellthy.org. Recovering my earlier works was a minor miracle. Finding, in those documents, the answer to my questions, was a true blessing. The first article I read is from September 2011 and can be found below.
Sometimes, when you question G-d, you get an answer!
How many times have you asked, “Why me?” Ever been lucky enough to find the answer? Most of the time there is no answer. Most of the time life feels random. Today, I told another patient he had cancer. I told him he needed to see an oncologist, have more testing, and undergo chemotherapy, then surgery. During our consultation, he asked, “Why me?”
I answered, “I’m still trying to figure out why you were lucky enough to get married to such an amazing woman, or have such great kids, or rise to the level you have in the business world. You always led an exceptional life while appearing quite ordinary.” If you are going to ask the “why me” question when bad things happen, shouldn’t you ask it when good things happen, too?
Cancer is a random act of terror. Whether G-d has some plan we are privy to or not, the real answer is most of the time we don’t know why things happen the way they do. Sure, we blame cancer on smoking, drinking, exposure to toxins and genetics among a host of other possible contributing factors. As Americans, we have been led to believe someone or something must be at fault when something bad happens.
Playing the blame game after the fact is counter- productive! If you get tied up in the “why me” mentality, you become depressed and ineffective at a time in your life when you have to be at your best. You’ve been drafted; you are going to war. You need to get in shape if you are going to war. You need to focus on what is important. You need to be alive and stay alive.
In Spanish, the word for “why” is “por qué” and the word for “because” is “porqué”. Both words are pronounced the same. When you ask why, you have actually answered your own question, because! With a diagnosis of cancer or a host of other tragedies, ask the question just once, “Why me?” Answer your question, “Because!”, then move forward.
Live your life, Fight your battles, Win the war.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to find the answer. I always tell my patients that, if they can make something good come out of something bad, it won’t be so bad. Sometimes when your life or the life of a loved one is threatened, families and communities come together in unimaginable ways. Lives actually get better. It may sound cliché, but sometimes my patient whose life is threatened by cancer really had stopped living prior to the diagnosis. He had simply gotten into the proverbial rut; up at 6, coffee, go to work, home at 6, dinner, TV and sleep. The threat of losing his life actually makes him find a new, more fulfilling life.
We all know about the movie, “The Bucket List.” Don’t wait for tragedy to wake you up and make you act on your bucket list. Enjoy now. Be happy. Work at being healthy. Have an attitude of gratitude. When something good happens, ask “Why me?” Then smile and say “Because!” and enjoy it. When something bad happens, do the same, and then work through it, looking for something good to come out of it.
As a final note, it can’t hurt to say a little prayer of thanks for the good things and for the new opportunities brought by the bad things.”
It appears that I was sagely in 2011, answering my own questions and needs before I actually asked them. Porque!