Every moment is so precious

A few weeks ago, Sally Massagee told CNN’s Anderson Cooper about how it was for her during the time in which she was had a mysterious disease. For four years, she did not know what was wrong with her body or if she would ever recover from the disease. Sally sought treatment from many doctors at Duke University Medical Center before she was accepted at the National Institutes of Health Unexplained Disease Program. She went through yet another week of testing, but this time it was not in vain. The doctors found that there were abnormal proteins in her body that were triggering her muscles grow uncontrollably. Sally’s tremendous overgrowth of muscle made it extremely difficult for her to even move her arms. Dr. Sanjay Gupta added that the muscle overgrowth could have eventually crushed her ribcage and organs.

When asked how she got through the years of seeking a diagnosis and treatment, Sally’s response was:

“There are a lot of things. One thing is maintaining hope and a positive attitude. I really decided early on that bathing my body in adrenaline and fear, stress hormones was not helping it. You have to learn what to do within yourself to focus on positive things and to enjoy life. And that’s a part of it too, especially if your life is going to be shorter, you don’t know how long it’s going to be, savor the parts of it that you have. Every moment is so precious. And then you realize it with your time with your loved ones. Really savor those times. And one thing too is that it is a team approach. The patient needs to participate as well as the doctors. If they need to know something that they haven’t asked about, volunteer it. Or if they forget something, volunteer it. You need to be in there thinking and talking too and not just waiting passively for them to take care of it.”

People who have chronic illness and/or pain can learn from Sally as she was an exceptional patient. She focused on what she could appreciate in her life, even though her physical functioning was limited and she was facing a great degree of uncertainty in her life. She realized from the beginning that stress could make her situation worse and she was clearly aware of how her thoughts could exacerbate her stress level. She also persevered in finding an effective treatment and she played an active role in her own recovery.

Sally is now feeling “normal” again. She received a stem cell transplant and chemotherapy that stopped her muscles from growing out of control. She was happy to report that she could wear her wedding ring again.

You can watch the whole interview at: CNN Video with Sally Massagee

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. TBT
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 06:37:37

    This is so important, though sadly, it takes something of the order of a crisis to drive it home!

    A well-known spiritual teacher once said,

    “When there is nothing else to compare it with, each moment is perfect”.

    I try to remind myself of this and it helps me greatly to lose my cravings for what could/should be or my guilt over what should or should not have been. How much happier that always makee me or how much freer it allows me to move and act in the direction of joy!


  2. nothingprofound
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 13:57:44

    Too many people focus on what they can’t do, and forget what they can do. The very fact that one has a body and a mind is a miracle.


  3. determinedtoheal
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 11:04:42

    Each moment is perfect. I like that. And yes, we also forget the miracle of living. How amazing it is!


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