(As I said in my former entry, there are things that have come up over the last few months that I just didn’t blog about, but these ones just keep coming back to me as life lessons to draw from.)
One life story sharing:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney published a book a few months back titled Heart. It is the story of his life as a heart patient. He had his first massive coronary when he was in the prime of his life, age 37. That would place it sometime in the early 1970’s. I have listened to a number of interviews about his experiences while he’s been on a book tour, and it is truly a story of perseverance, and I would add, God’s sovereign hand; because as Cheney puts it, “it was the times in which I lived” that actually made it possible for him to eek out more life from his heart each year.
He was the first who had a stent placed in his heart. Yes, the first. As time went on, he took advantage of all of the latest technologies that would allow him more life. Most often, the technology was developed just in time for his need. The last contraption he had place was a pump of sorts that literally kept his heart beating and blood flowing. As with the stent, this was brand new technology. It was meant to only last a few months while patients waited for a transplant, but he made it about 20 months. His body grew weak during the wait, and at the last possible moment he received word that he could have a heart transplant.
Today he is full of life. He proudly states that he can throw 50 pound bags of manure into the back of a pickup truck, and his life is full. The only thing he can’t do is ski anymore–he says his knees can’t handle it!
As I listened to him speak about his life journey, how technology was developed in time for his life situation, it has made me think about my own situation. It seems the 13 years or so that I lived disease-free gave time for the medical field to develop many more targeted drugs and treatments for breast cancer. Bone marrow transplants are no longer done on people with late stage breast cancer; doctors can administer chemo just as effectively. One of the drugs I am on today was approved by the FDA less than 2 years ago. I have been on it almost that length of time. Two more drugs have come on the market since that would replace the other drug that I am on if it begins to lose its effectiveness.
Cheney’s life also teaches me about living life without being focused on obstacles. He continued to move on in Washington politics, which I can imagine is very stressful. That is surprising for me to see, since it seems he would have avoided stress. Apparently, being in the thick of things gave him purpose. He was Secretary of Defense during the first Iraq war (1991) and then Vice President when the Towers were hit in 2001, two critical times in our nation’s history.
Dick Cheney persevered and lived to see a triumph over a deadly disease. His life is a lesson for us all.