May 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Challenging Issues of Aging

It was only supposed to be a check up.  The visit was presumed to be routine.   The tests were ordinary.  At first.  Then came the drop of the hammer.  “There is something there,”  the doctor said.   “We need to do more tests.”  That big “uh oh” moment comes crashing in upon you when they nor you have any idea what is being suggested here. It is unsettling, somewhat scary, and altogether mind boggling.  Nothing like this was supposed to happen.  Not now.  Not ever!

But happen it does.  And when it does, as the younger man told me, just the other day “It’s all a matter of attitude.”  He is  likely my junior by about 20 years.  Yet, he is the one advising me, while he is the one coping with the bad news.

Managing Bad News is something we cultivate and nurture. We need to be ready, before the bad news comes.  We need to have our “affairs” in place.  We need to be stalwart in the face of whatever is yet to emerge.  There are few words that really help.  There are acts, not really an act, but acts that show understanding and caring, resolve and resilience.

We Are All Mortal Beings

No matter how ready one may be, the shock still rolls over you.  It reminds you of that reality, long ago realized, but often overlooked, the reality of mortality. Oops!  This wasn’t in the plan.  I was careful, observed all the no-no’s.  And yet here it is, that Big C thing coming down upon me like an avalanche charging down a snowy mountain. The question is, is fear justified? Is there a better, more productive way to deal with the prospect, than to fight it with anger and anxiety.?  Aging has its inevitables, but does one of them have to be living with the dread of death?

Deciding what your view of the possibility of a terminal illness will be is one way to take charge of your life, even when that life is confronted with the negatives of illness and the prospect of dying.  Giving into being sidetracked by the claim that I “may” be dealing with a debilitating disease does not mean the end of life.  It may mean altering one’s life style and expectations, depending on the nature of the illness and the treatment involved. Some choose to take the offensive and to head off as much of the negative influences,  physical and psychological, as one can.  Others challenge the disease with intentionality, keeping up a regimen of activity and positive influences that quell being overcome by the negatives.  Still others try alternative treatments, not traditionally recommended by conventional physicians.  Sometimes they work.  Sometimes not.

Managing bad news, whatever it is, in whatever form it presents itself, is an indication of character and resolve, of strength and courage. Bad News comes.  It can be a contributor to worse things happening to and with us.  But, it can also be the occasion when we exercise a resolute will to stay in charge and to challenge such news with the gift of character and the will of a survivor.

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