Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mid Life and Priorities

I just read in the NY Times where Angelina Jolie made another cancer preventive decision and had her ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed. It wasn’t too long ago she had a double mastectomy. Bless her. For a woman, a celebrity too, it has to be a monumental and frightening decision. But for a mother who is determined to do what she can to be there for her children, it is a no brainier. I would do the same thing.

If someone told me that I was a high risk for breast cancer or even if there was a spot on my mammogram that was questionable… take them both. I will buy some more that look better. I have no vanity when it comes to staying on this earth for my children. Same rationale goes for any of my parts. I am not concerned about an ovary, uterus, boobs or anything that may harbor a deadly cancer. If I tested high risk for any of those cancers I have no problem letting them go. And I know how Angelina feels. There comes a time when you know you need to be around for someone else. This life is not about you anymore. It isn’t the fear of cancer or dying that drives us to make these decisions. It is the fear of leaving this world before our children are grown. It is our maternal instinct to protect our young that guides and drives us in our daily existence.

In my family, my genetic weakness is not a cancer. The weakness in my family comes from alcohol. Apparently we carry the code for a weak liver. Well, that is not an organ I can live without so the only thing I can do is keep that sucker detoxed and clean. I used to enjoy a glass or two of wine on the weekends but even now, when there are at least 4 bottles of my favorite wine sitting in the pantry, I think twice about it. I know that an occasional glass of wine is good for me. But that doesn’t keep me from second guessing myself when I do decide to have one. The repercussions of over indulgence haunt me. They nag me from the back of my mind. Just like a cartoon when the warning lights and sirens start to go off, I am keenly aware of my own family history and how my actions can make me another victim of my own genetic code.

So here I am in my mid 40’s realizing that I am not the center of my world. My little family is what I revolve around. Both my husband and I make our two children the center of our universe and we rarely do anything without them. And that is what I have come to realize…. when we begin to live for something or someone other than ourselves we consider life more fragile and therefore take better care of ourselves and those closest to us. 
With age and wisdom comes selflessness. As we get older, the people we have known all our lives start passing away, we have to acknowledge that our time is short and we need to make the best of it. Cherish the ones you love and make sure to take care of yourself so you don’t leave them too soon. God gave us free will to choose how we live our lives. The human body can weather the storms of the occasional bad decision but it is our responsibility to take care of this vessel we have been given to the best of our ability. If not for ourselves then for those we love.

Live long and prosper my friends! 

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