Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bad things happen to good people too

When it comes to tragedy and illness no one is exempt.  Bad things happen to everyone, the poor and downtrodden do not hold the monopoly on bad things.  When you are in a minority group it is easy to think that bad things never happen to the rich or famous. But guess what I can tell you that no matter what your situation or status in life is you are not spared from your share of bad things.  See illness, bad fortunes, economy, car troubles and all sorts of things just happen.  Things break down, including your body and health.  Someone once said that there are no guaranties in life, and they were absolutely correct.

Famous and rich people get sick and die all the time, the difference is the level of care they are given and the amount of notoriety or press they receive when they pass away.  Cancer and other illnesses are the great equalizer, and death doesn't discern whether you are rich or poor.  When it is your time it is your time.  Nothing you can do will change or alter the fact.  Some people are very lucky and live a very full and long life, while others are destined to get ill and grow weak and fade.  But why am I telling you this?  I guess the reason why I want to talk about this is that at some point each of us has looked at another person and thought, "Gee, that person is so lucky, look at what they have got and look at what I have, and if I only didn't get sick or this hadn't happened I would be ahead just like them."  Whether, that is true or not, is not of value, because you see while you are looking at someone else's life and wishing and wondering someone is looking at your life the same way.

We each of us have received blessings and have accomplished things in our own lives that we should be proud of.  Yet, it is very easy for us as humans to focus or our failings and weaknesses and never give ourselves the credit we actually deserve.  Further, we are each of us selfish and long to have more and be more than what we are.  I think this is why so many of us are actually unhappy most of the time.  We have taken the things that we have achieved for granted, we remember how we struggled and sacrificed to get where we are, but we are not truely happy because we are too busy looking at what others have and what we lack.

The secret to true happiness as I have once told you is to be content with who and what you are and what you have at any given moment in your life.  If you can actually accomplish that you will find that you are happy, and you stop looking at the bad side of things.  You truly are accepting of what you have gained and what you have accomplished.  Goals keep us moving forward, and our goals are our landmarks to let us know how far we have come.  Each of us is on a journey and we have travelled great distances from where we have started, look back on all you landmarks and mile markers and see if what I am saying isn't true.

We can use my life as an example if you would like.  I am not rich or famous, though there have been times in my life where I have had lots of money and owned many things, and I have hung out with and know a great deal of people who are famous and are rich but I am not counted among them.  My grandparents had lots of money and when they died they took most of it with them and that I believe was the right thing to do. Everyone of us needs to go out there into the world and make something of ourselves, if we don't do that then what is given to us is taken for granted and a lesson isn't learned.  Even the richest people in the world didn't start out that way, and even if your family has a great deal of money, you still have to do things to find yourself and prove yourself. You can see people like Paris Hilton, who had large sums of money, she had a singing career, a clothing line, perfume collection and other industry interests till she found something that was her and hers alone.  I believe the same goes for everyone no matter who they are.  Now, as I was saying I had accomplished a lot in my life, had a great career, 2 cars, 2 houses, 2 dogs, owned my own company and many other things.  But, none of that was easily won, I worked hard, and I did what I set out to do.  I also got sick.

But what you may be unaware of is this, I started out right after high school and joined the Navy, I served my country and traveled the world.  Shortly after I got out I found out that I had large cell lymphoma, a very aggressive type of cancer, and leukemia I went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the age of 24, and it wasn't till I was done with that, that I actually had the opportunity to go to college and begin my life.  Which I did actually and I had almost 10 good years where I worked hard, loved hard, and played harder.  Built up things with the help of my partner and reached all the goals and dreams I had at the time.  Just like I told you about above, but at 15 years after my first encounter with cancer, it came back and when it did it came back with a vengeance, but coupled with it was damage caused by the radiation of the treatments I had had years earlier.  See back in the 90's there were no long term studies of how radiation affected the human body after long term exposure.  The problem was most of the people that were getting radiation treatment back then were older men and women that were battling breast and prostate cancer.  They were not living long enough for the effects of the treatments to be well known. So here I am now 20 years later and I am still battling radiation disease and cancer and a myriad of other things.  It didn't matter how much money I had or what kind of job I had, and what type of car I drove, it just didn't matter, the illness and disease was there.

I was young when I first found out I was sick, I had just turned 23 when cancer was discovered and I was told then that I was already in stage four and that I only had 18 months to live.  Guess what I am still here and I am still fighting.  I have lost most of what I had because of many different reasons, but one thing is sure with the illness came change, higher bills and quickly I went through my possessions and money.  I do not grieve over these losses, though sometimes I am frustrated and saddened that I had so much and now have virtually nothing.  But what I do have is my life and I have a greater understanding of my own body, and I have learned so many things along the way.  That is why I write, why I take the time and think about the things I do, why my blog is here.  I have been asked over and over again, how do I stay so positive, how do I keep going and how do I defeat depression. The long and the short of it is I just keep fighting and keep going because that is the only way I know how.  But, the other thing is this I love people and I love to talk, and I love to hear other peoples problems and concerns.  I may not have all the answers, and I may not be anything more than an ear to chew on or a shoulder for them to lean upon, but that is okay. Because, by listening to others, it makes me realize just how much I have to be thankful for and to remember that out there are people who are struggling and are much worse off then I am.

The suffering of others brings me no joy, but it has kept me from feeling sorry for myself, it has kept me from being idle with my time and my resources.  I have found needs that people have and try and fulfill them.  I try everyday to make a difference in the world, I try to give back to society what they have given to me.  I better myself each day by doing and listening, by helping and being understanding, I write to express myself and all of this is what keeps me going and happy.  I have no time for depression and thinking only of myself. As a matter of fact, I am working diligently right now to start an organization that will address the needs of sick people who want to live independently. Whether they are sick with cancer, leukemia, HIV, AIDS whatever their illness is, I think they should have to right to have a place to live, and the opportunity to do something they like.  My goal is to help those like myself who do make some money but don't have enough to actually get out there on their own and have a life.  See, I get disability from Social Security but I don't make enough to afford a car and a place to live, and still have food to eat.  It is my dream that I will be able to create an organization that will help with that, get you set up in an apartment and help you with the rent for a bit of time, to get you into a new career or profession that will allow you to have the necessary money to provide for yourself, and may even get you off of disability all together.

No matter who you are.  Where you come from. Who your family is. Tragedy and illness can befall you.  You can have everything you want one minute and in the blink of an eye it can all vanish and you could be like so many people standing around feeling sorry for yourself wondering why me? Looking enviously on at your friends and neighbors and wonder why did you get the bad break? What did you do wrong? Why is this happening to me?  Or you could be like me and turn that negative around and do something about it, you can reach out to others like yourself offer them your expertise and guidance, and make a difference in the world.  All it takes is one person with one small idea to change the world, alter the course of destiny and change another persons life.  I call for each of us to think about those we know, be the shoulder for their support, offer a friendly ear, give a kind smile, you have nothing to loose and so much to gain.

Remember, you are not the only one that this is happening too and you are not alone out there in the world.  There is someone else out there that is hurting and grieving and going through what you are going through or worse.  Give back to those who have helped you and help those you don't even know, because there is no greater joy in this world.  Plus, you are truly going to make yourself feel better by doing something, by doing anything.  Never sit around and just dwell on your misfortune, because you're only misfortunate if you believe that you are.  Because in another point of view you may be blessed and just can't see it.  Don't let your troubles blind you, don't let them bind you and never never give up.  Because when you give up and quit death has already won and your family and friends are left to mourn and suffer your loss.  So keep up the good fight, and keep marching forward.  Remember each day is a new start, there are no mistakes in let's go out there and screw them up together, and while we are doing that let's make the world a better place for us and those who love us.  We are strong, we have been fighting for our lives, and we are still here, we can do anything we really want to.  Trust me.  I did it, so can you!

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B