Waiting for the Shoe to Drop

I sent a “Happy Birthday!” email to a friend today, thinking how fortunate it was that a mutual friend reminded me of the birthday in time. She is a gorgeous woman, smart, funny and vivacious. She responded:

Thanks so much..50 can u believe it!!!! I’m sitting at… hosp waiting for
my 3rd radiation treatment..3 down and 13 to go!! But doing well. Miss you!
Happy New Year X0X0

Picture my stunned reaction: mouth dropped open – stunned face.

She went to the doctor. Had her mammogram. Bam! Breast Cancer.

Jesus! And I was about to whine about my dirty house and fat belly.

There has been a paranoia building in my mind lately and growing as I age. I try to ignore it, suppress it, even laugh it off, but there is no denying it: I might contract some life threatening disease or sickness and it could kill me. I am almost fifty. A few of my friends have found out that they have breast cancer. Other friends just start having pains and then Poof! Intestinal problems, auto immune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis! I am certain that at the very least I could develop heart disease or diabetes. I am obese right? I spent an entire lifetime – save for a few years – indulging in bad lifestyle choices (overeating & no exercise) – anti-healthy living.

I’m not getting any younger.

I always thought I was still young. Now, I realize that I am simply “young at heart.” And I reckon “young at heart” doesn’t cut it anymore, not when your friends are contracting grown up diseases… Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not walking around obsessing about my inevitable withering and death. BUT, I am noticing new aches and pains every day and I do wonder if my breathlessness after going up three flights of stairs is due to blocked arteries versus my just being “fat and outta shape.” Now I must face that “fat and outta shape” is one definition of blocked arteries, especially at “my age.”

Oh my God!!

I remember when I first realized that I was no longer at the tail end of “young” and had truly entered middle age. And then came the first serious thoughts of my inevitable demise. We all gotta die. And the older you get, the closer you get to it – sickness and death.

And now, I am approaching old age.

I wonder if I am paranoid or just crazy. Who thinks like this? Am I some sort of Fatalist? Is this the ultimate form of negative thinking? There is so much that I haven’t done with my life. I just learned how to swim for God’s sake! I still don’t drive. I have never been in a true love affair. I gotta make a will. I wanna lose weight and get into shape again.

And the funny thing is that up until now (which I have probably just jinxed by writing this) I have had no real health problems, no hospitalizations… but maybe that’s cause I am living on borrowed time. Maybe the roulette wheel of life is about to drop a small silver ball on my number. Life seems so random at times and oddly ironic. The healthy non smoker contracts lung cancer. The thin healthy life-styler gets hit by a bus. Who knows what my fate will be.

I do know one thing. I’m not gonna waste another minute worrying about it today. It’s time for action and smart choices. I am going to think about living a good life at this moment and be thankful for all I’ve got and be inspired by those who must struggle – because of illness or injury – to do the same.

P.S. My friend is doing well. Surgery removed all of the cancer and she and her doctors are optimistic about her full recovery!

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