“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – ― Mahatma Gandhi
The last week or so for me has been fairly normal except for the fact that I have developed a pain under my left breast. For any woman, any unexplained pain in that area prompts alarm bells of course. I monitored it for a few days and booked an appointment with the doctor for a week’s time. At the time, it was just a pain and was also radiating to my chest wall so I thought there was a chance I had injured myself while exercising. A few days later, I woke up with two strange hard lines in the area which were super painful, I quickly called the doctor and made an appointment with a different doctor for that afternoon. Yeah, it may not be a symptom of breast cancer but this new symptom was super weird. Of course the doctor had no idea what it was and had never seen it before so he sent me for an ultrasound. I went and had my ultrasound yesterday and the sonographer told me that while I don’t have breast cancer, I have two veins that have “thrombosed” or hardened.
He wasn’t really concerned but the thought going through my head was “why?? Surely veins don’t just spontaneously become rock-hard“. As someone who spent a lot of time learning about the circulatory system at university, and understanding the risks and causes of vascular thrombosis as well as many other health complaints, my life revolves around avoiding these sorts of things. Thrombosed veins at the age of 23… really? Super confused and a little scared, even though I felt fine and kept thinking it would be nothing, I had this other thought going through my head that this is not something that should happen and “what if it IS serious?”.
While I was driving home from work after my ultrasound, I started to notice a mild numbness and tingling sensation in my left arm. This really freaked me out. I called my Mum who is a nurse and she said I should be driving straight to the doctor with that new symptom rather than just waiting until the next day. She called the medical centre and called me back saying that the doctor had said to go straight to the hospital. In all honestly, I never thought I would be so reluctant to go to hospital. I felt like such an idiot – I was so nervous that nothing would be wrong with me and I would look stupid for going. I also wanted to go out for dinner with my boyfriend – food is important to me :).
I was talked into it and eventually I was in the passenger seat of my brothers car. After waiting a while, having a blood test (almost passing out because I am a wuss with blood) and a full examination, they told me they had never seen it before but that I didn’t seem to be in immediate danger so sent me home to see my GP the next day. Still no answers – except the finding that I have low sodium levels and that I should eat more salt ;).
In the end it was Mum to the rescue! She walked into my bedroom this morning and asked if I would like some reading material. She had found some information about a rare “disease” called Mondor’s Disease which has no obvious cause but one of the things it can be linked to is strenuous exercise and it should go away by itself in about 12 weeks. Confirmed by the doctor and nothing but pain relief necessary, here we have a massive anti-climax which also comes as a massive relief.
While I was worried about making a fool of myself by going to the hospital for nothing, I realised one more thing during this whole experience. So many people say that they live every day as if it is their last, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I realised that most of us really don’t – even if we think we do.
Never before have I had any reason to believe that anything could be so wrong with me that I may be facing major illness or death. But when you don’t know what is wrong with you and neither do any of the medical professionals you have seen, it makes you consider the idea that you might be about to discover something you don’t want to.
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
— Walt Whitman
I live a happy life, and part of what makes me happy is facilitating other people’s happiness. How much time spent making other people happy is too much? The amount that means that you are focusing on other people more than you are focusing on yourself. I am someone who (I hope) is really good at giving advice and not very good at listening to it myself. I believe 100% in the saying that “you need to love yourself before you can love others” and together with that, I will say you must first achieve real internal happiness before you will be able to sustain the happiness of other people.
If I spend so much time and put so much effort into working on making other people happy aren’t I putting my happiness in their hands? If I work on myself first, even if they don’t respond the way I hope they will or how I expect them to, at least I am self-sufficient enough to maintain my positivity.
“Allow yourself to enjoy each happy moment in your life” – Steve Maraboli.
What if something were to happen tomorrow… or today? Would you have spent all of your time rushing through life working to earn money, pleasing other people, conforming to societies expectations and postponing the things you really want to be doing because life got in the way?
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” - Marthe Troly-Curtin.
I went for a long walk by myself this morning which is something that I haven’t taken the time to do for a long time. It really gave me time to reflect on things in my life as they are right now. I have made a few decisions and you should too.
“[G]iving yourself some loving attention is not selfish. It is sensible. If you feel loved and cherished–even if it is only by yourself–then you will have more love to give to others, too. (83)” ― Penelope Quest.
Its TIME to take the time to focus on ourselves for a while;1. Slow down and do things at your own pace – this will help you to relax, remain positive and probably do everything a little more thoroughly! 2. Make a list of realistic things that YOU want to do and decide to get them done within a reasonable time-frame. 3. Keep your dreams in sight and work towards them every day. Achievement is possibly the most self-satisfying thing in life. 4. Remember your worth. YOU are important and the people who respect that will be there for you always. 5. Go for a walk. Think about what you really love and want and work out how to make it happen.
So my last day should still be a while away but I will leave you and I both, with this thought;
If you do it right, you would live your last day as you have lived the rest of them.
― Melissa Denman
Get onto it guys. Do something for you and make sure you come to the very end of your life feeling accomplished; not unfinished – even if it is tomorrow.