These are the strangest and most difficult of times. It is the era of massive disinformation.
So much is known, yet little appears profoundly understood or shared legitimately. We have created an inflated world of superficiality, obfuscation and deliberate misdirection.
Rather than simply inform and entertain us Local, National, Global News and Events are routinely positioned and defined to alienate, separating us into antagonistic, feuding factions.
With this backdrop, tell me you are Progressive and do not hate Conservatives and their views. Convince me you are politically biased to the Right and do not crave the downfall of the Left. It seems that many are being bullied away from often rational middle ground.
We satiate ourselves with the bile fed us by News Outlets, raise our heads and by our own inaction and tolerance, beg for more. Such are the Times.
As for myself, I have been preoccupied, off-line in an enforced recouperation from surgery for these last several weeks.
My journey has followed a well-trodden path of those who went before me and assuredly the countless more yet to come. It is a story that perhaps half of you reading this will experience personally. Certainly, you will increasingly witness similar events among friends, colleagues and relatives throughout your life.
It is commonly reported that fifty percent of the population will suffer from some form of Cancer in their lifetime. There are numerous forms that can materialize: Cancer of the Skin, Bowel, Prostate, Breast, Throat, Kidney, Liver, Lung, Gall Bladder, Bladder, Pancreas, Intestine, etc. Tumors can attach anywhere and treatments vary depending on their age, patients’ age and health, the cancer’s growth-rate, size, location and physical position.
Unsurprisingly, success / cure rates and recovery are also tied to these very same attributes
In my lifetime I have seen victims of every single cancer-type mentioned above and more; an incredibly sad commentary upon which to reflect.
My own situation followed a well-travelled action plan and recovery path after a fluke, but truly fortunate early detection.
Just a couple of weeks after confirmatory scans I underwent an advanced robotic surgery in LA, performed by an Internationally acclaimed surgeon at The Keck Institute of USC. After a (luckily, only) partial Nephrectomy on a still smallish, but challengingly placed low-growth tumor.
I was up and about walking within hours and gone from my Air-controlled, heavily Covid-proofed room within 24 hrs. of being installed there, Post OP.
Admittedly, my RHS midriff was colorfully and spectacularly bruised, surrounding five frugal surgical puncture wounds, but this was largely disappeared within a month. Having quickly dropped all use of narcotic painkillers I was even able to drive myself to a post OP review six days after surgery to profusely thank my surgeon, before being driven on an unrushed 2-day return journey along the spectacular CA Hwy1 Pacific coastal road.
The journey back North to my Northern California home in Santa Cruz featured a two-night stop in Pismo Beach with walks to view the Hotel’s Pelican Preserve and Private Beach. Then the final leg of the drive included a mile-long walk to and around an Elephant Seal colony on beaches just South of Big Sur.
So, not such a traumatic experience. With no Chemotherapy prescribed it is now time to wait and perform the ritual and predictable annual reviews that check for the cancer’s reoccurrence and/or new distribution in the coming years.
So far, so good…touch wood.
My case is relatively straightforward and apparently fortunate. Early detection is everything and LUCK played a significant part on that account, as is often the case in a world where screening is far from medically common or comprehensive.
Why even discuss these events? Well, this is my story. In some ways it will eventually probably be like your own, too. Mine is an easy and palatable tale; many comparable stories are not.
During my medical visits and stays I saw waiting rooms and facilities full of extremely sick people. Most were likely NOT beneficiaries of early detection. Many were extremely ill, grey-skinned, brimming with palpable fear. Their experiences and immersion in the unknown had left them appearing traumatized, often clinging to loved ones accompanying them that day. They sat silent or whispering amongst themselves in the sterile, church-like surrounds.
This is a glimpse of other paths through the maze.
As you read this, you are almost certainly recalling friends, colleagues and relatives who have vanished from your life with similar but ultimately less fortunate stories. Several sufferers do seem to survive their initial diagnosis only to be laid-low by one, two or even more subsequent cancerous attacks. And their journeys’ end is often times witnessed as ultimately both miserable and tragically managed.
Yet this is not a complete picture of how things might play out.
It also means there is even more reason we should celebrate the most minor medical reprieves that might occur along the way and certainly openly applaud all full recoveries. Mortality is the Human Curse across every society; something eventually takes us all. It is simply a matter of WHAT and WHEN.
So, if a medical disaster is NOT UPON YOU TODAY, then there is much cause for celebration and thanks. The NOW can offer infinite joy if you are able to recognize and choose it as a blessing.
As for myself, I will keep my head down, enjoy the Day, sometimes cross my fingers and occasionally touch wood. Why not! There are always SOME simple things I am able to do and still control. 😊
My immediate focus has now moved to getting back in shape and pursuing normal routines.
So much for the medical warnings and personal view.
The world has predictably proceeded along with no heed of my recent individual distractions and challenge. No surprise there.
And so, there is a laundry list of recent Events and News to consider, but this time NOT by me. For now, I will just offer you this perspective.
I hope your family, friends and colleagues are well. If not, I hope you can offer them something to ease their troubles.
Just consider what you might do and follow-up where appropriate with meaningful words, support and action.
Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.