I'm alive! Now what?
April 29, 2011 7:17 PM Subscribe
A medical condition that should have killed me didn't. I'm just understanding (three years later) just how lucky I was. What are some ways that I can keep this feeling of being lucky and grateful to be alive in happy, life-affirming (i.e., not morbid or overly emo) ways?
posted by devotion+doubt to religion & philosophy (20 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Probably more backstory than you need:
* I have always been a super-worrier, and I have worried and fretted about death (which, yes, I know is pointless) for as long as I can remember.
* My 40th birthday in a few months has been making me all thoughtful and weird.
* I have an almost-three-year-old son who is the awesomest person ever.
During my son's difficult birth I suffered an aortic dissection that wasn't identified at the time. These are very very often immediately fatal. Mine wasn't. I didn't even know that it had happened until two years later, when my doctor detected a bruit in my pulse during a routine checkup and CT scans and ultrasounds confirmed that I had an old aortic dissection and a relatively smallish (not surgery-sized) abdominal aortic aneurysm.
A follow-up ultrasound with my vascular doctor recently (a year after the initial diagnosis and almost three years after it happened) showed that the dissection has healed itself and the aneurysm is stable. Basically, my doctor says I need to keep getting an annual ultrasound to keep an eye on it, but when I asked how worried I should be, her reply was "not at all."
I didn't really realize how freaked out I've been about dropping dead any minute until I found out that my chance of doing that is now not much higher than anyone else's. I feel really really lucky and really really grateful. I kind of feel like I've gotten "extra" time, in a way.
I just got a new kitten who is totally life-affirming, and I'm going to freak both my kid and my husband out if I keep grabbing and hugging them and getting all sappy all the time.
So, my question: What are some concrete things I can do--every day, or once in awhile--to remind myself that I'm alive and that rocks and I don't want to take it for granted?
TL;DR: Please give me your most awesomely life-affirming suggestions for ways to feel and act grateful every day (or, you know, as much as reasonably possible)?