“Never give up the power of your gut instincts. Trust me on this one…”
This advice is from Dr. Neil Spector, once a respected oncologist. Over a span of fifteen years, he experienced a series of near-fatal health problems himself and was misdiagnosed for several years on some of them.
The words of wisdom he offered above has to do with taking control of your health and being your own advocate in our current health system that sometimes leaves much to be desired. His book Gone in a Heartbeat details his disappointment in much of the care (or lack of) he was provided.
Spector says he doesn’t care what degrees a doctor may hold or from what prestigious universities they may have come from. If a doctor doesn’t listen to you—really listen, and if he/she looks more at the computer screen than at you, well, it’s likely time to find another doctor.
Spector’s once robust health started declining with mystery health issues. It wasn’t clear what exactly was wrong with him, but his heart was one main concern. He ended up having both a defibrillator and pacemaker inserted into his body.
While he knew the equipment was keeping him alive, he became (in his own words) a slave to his heart. He instinctively knew that things weren’t working like they should, but countless trips to the ER couldn’t produce any answers.
In the summer of 2009 when he was 53, Spector was moved to the top of the heart transplant list, not because of who he was but because of the severity of damage to his heart. In July of that year, he was told he had less than 72 hours to live.
Making a long story short, a healthy heart came from a donor in time, and he is once again living a healthy life.
I love the story his surgeon shared about the actual moment of transplantation.
“Like two hearts passing in the night, he said my old heart was literally on its last beat when they removed it from my chest. It had hung in there, quietly pumping out a final few drops of blood, surrendering to the surgeon’s hands only when it was certain it was no longer needed.”
You and I take for granted so much of what our bodies do for us. Usually until something goes wrong, we don’t even think about the miraculous, marvelous miracles our bodies are. Let’s fix that.
Take a deep breath and smell the air. Listen to the sounds or the silence around you. Look right around you and find something beautiful. Our senses are nothing short of amazing.
Now touch your fingers gently to your pulse and fully appreciate the beat of that ta-tum, ta-tum, ta-tum.
Repeat three times daily. Or more as needed.