If you had only a month to live, what would you change?

A little morbid, I admit, and I’m guessing we’ve all heard this question before, but it is a question which I recently had to confront, as I faced a potentially fatal situation last week. I’m hoping it might serve as a bit of a wake up call, and give each of us a more powerful dose of motivation we might not have considered. It has, for me.

On Monday of last week, I received a beautiful email from a student who shared something quite profound on the forums. I wrote to him to thank him, and explain how it actually saved me some time. What he didn’t know was that I have been experiencing an unknown health problem for a few weeks, and have been quite exhausted. Thus, I was extremely grateful for his timesaving post.

He was kind enough to write back, and share some rather powerful thoughts on why sharing on the forum has been such a positive experience for him, after waiting many months to do so. I was so jazzed about the message, I began writing a weekly message based on his great email until my heart began to beat excessively, and out of rhythm, and some dizziness and mental confusion began. My work came to a grinding halt. (That will be another weekly message from our Coaches.)

I wanted to get a little personal for this week, as it’s been quite the epiphany, and caused significant reflection, as I hope it can be and do for you. The long and short of it all is that for the last few weeks I have had some things happen to me that I’ve never experienced for any length of time: dizziness, significant memory loss, heart palpitations, some chest pain, and the inability to walk any distance without help.

Most of you know my wife is not only a therapist, but an RN, and we got to the point where she said, “you need to do something about this, NOW!” Of course, I promised, “as soon as I get such and such project done.” The problem always is that the projects never end.

At 4:00am on Tuesday, I knew something was really wrong. My heart rhythm was out of control, and pulse rates were all over the place: 60, 150, 80, and 130, on and on. I didn’t know if this was a heart attack, or what. We finally went to the ER after sending a few emails cancelling some individual sessions with some of you, and group. I wasn’t going to tell anybody about this until I had a clue what was really happening. Nobody likes to hear bad news. Maybe it’s a reaction to medication I’m on. Maybe this will be solved in a few minutes. No need to tell anyone.

As soon as I was hooked up to the heart monitor in the ER, there was an immediate consensus: “You’re in atrial fibrillation.” I knew that was a heartbeat out of rhythm, but not what it all meant. After some blood work, and some additional tests, the cardiologist came down to tell me about a procedure I would need to try and resolve this. The only problem was that they determined it had probably been going on for several weeks, based on my reported symptoms, and there was a chance blood clots may have formed, so they wanted a couple of more tests to see if even more tests were needed.

Well, I’m not going to take you all through that mess. What I wanted to share with you is that for the first time in my life, I was made to feel like I actually had something serious that could take my life at any moment with a stroke. I can hardly tell you of the depth of reflecting that has taken place over the last couple of weeks. I wanted to write my children, some of whom I am estranged from. I had so much I wanted to share with my sweetheart that has not been said due to schedules that are way too busy for our own good. I wanted to tell our Coaches how much they mean to me. I wanted to tell all the students and group members I work with how amazing they are, and how grateful I am for all of them, and what they’ve taught me. I then thought of some past Candeo students I wanted to thank, but “where could I find their email addresses?”

I found myself in a bit of a state of panic and anxiety. SO much I wanted to say and do and NO time to do it in. Of course, like many of us might, I vowed, “if I can just get through this, things are going to REALLY change.”

I took some time off following the procedure that put my heart back into rhythm, a “cardioversion.” I came home and worked on my schedule; made some changes; cancelled some sessions with clients, and wrote in my journal. You’d all be impresses at the promises I made to my wife, others, and myself.

Two weeks have passed. The dizziness has faded. Oxygen to the brain can do that. ☺ I feel quite energized and alert. What a difference having my heart back in rhythm has made. “Back to my old self,” I proclaimed with much gratitude. But slowly, I have returned to my same routine. The holidays put in increasing demand on time and resources. Parties to attend, work responsibilities to attend to, cards to send, emails to return, etc. etc. In two weeks, my life altering epiphany of how things are “going to really change around here,” has almost completely faded as my symptoms of any heart problem have disappeared.

Am I weak? Have I fallen out of recovery? Just don’t have enough will-power to make the changes I want to? Have I just developed a manner of living that is so habitual and automatic that it will never change, and I am powerless to make any real impact on my lifestyle?

I am exploring some answers in my own journal and in our groups. But I wanted to ask all of you: “If you knew you were going to die in 30 days, what would you do differently than what you are doing today? And if you WOULD act differently, and WOULD change some things, why would it take knowing you were going to die in 30 days to make those changes? Why wouldn’t I make them, whether I knew I was dying in 30 days or not?” Just thought I’d ask. I wonder how much fuller, richer, deeper and satisfying our lives might be?

Here’s wishing every one of you an amazing holiday season from all of us at Candeo. You have touched all of our lives in significant and meaningful ways. We hope Candeo has done the same for you, and will continue to.

May 2016 become a year of important breakthroughs in your efforts to find peace, joy, contentment, meaning, and happiness in all of your lives.