After weeks of hospitalization and ongoing tests, someone extremely close to me got diagnosed with lung cancer. She is like a second mother to me, and my number one role model in terms of career, lifestyle, and attitude. While we were all in shock, she took the news like a boss. She even cracked a few jokes.
I spent most of today in multiple hospitals with her, looking at test results and listening to the doctor’s diagnosis. I did my best to be useful and make sure she was comfortable, but when she finally transferred hospitals and settled down on her new bed, I was overcome with a huge pile of anger and guilt. Out of all people, why was it her? She’s so healthy, looks so young, and leads the most balanced lifestyle. Earlier this year, we had made summer plans to go travel around China and even head north to see the steppes of Mongolia. When she was initially hospitalized for ‘pneumonia’, she urged me to go ahead. Since I need to run a few errands for family and leave the country for visa issues anyways, I decided to make travel plans alone thinking she would just join in next time.
Now, when she is about to face surgery, most likely chemotherapy, and the huge task of fighting this serious disease, how can I desert her to go enjoy myself and explore new lands?
My guilt was written all over my face. So this amazing woman sat up, looked me in the face, and told me this:
“Just because I’m sick doesn’t mean that I can’t have a good time. And it doesnt mean you should feel guilty about having a good time. When you are here, be useful. When you go out and play, play harder because you cherish life, cherish youth, and cherish health. Get regular checkups, take care of yourself. You and your horrible lifestyle and habits. If you don’t have health you don’t have anything”
So true. When we are young, there is always that false sense of security and belief that we are invincible. I will always remember today as a wake-up call. When I am here, I will do my best to be her voluntary slave. When I go play, I will play harder and cherish everything infinite times more.