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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Four Lessons I Learned from Surgery

Robert Manni - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Well, it’s a new year and I’m better now.  The first half of last year I got into the best shape of my life, relative to my age. It was exhilarating to run like the wind for ten miles and feel the endorphins kick in while perspiring under golden sunshine. My daddy weight melted away, I was jacked, and my abs were as tight as they’ve been in years. I felt great.

Then in July I found out I had a kidney stone that was slowly and painfully making its way to my bladder.  Following a CT scan I received a diagnosis of opportunity. The doctors found a non-aggressive growth on each kidney. As a result, the second half of the year consisted of tests and more tests followed by two robotic surgical procedures. Fortunately, I received excellent care and by the end of the year I was on a path to a full recovery, almost as if nothing had happened. I have a follow up MRI in six months, but that’s it. The ordeal is over and in some ways it was close to miraculous.  Now that I’ve had a few months to let things sink in, your Guy's Guy would like to share what I’ve learned from a very real, life-altering experience and wake up call. Maybe it will be of help to you as you find your way on your journey. I hope so.

1. ACT, DON’T WAIT.

My painful bout with a kidney stone was a blessing because it pushed me to see a doctor and get a CT scan. That scan identified the growths. The next step was up to me and I was told that the growths were non-aggressive and may not cause a major problem for years. But, they weren’t going away, and who wants that hanging over their head? I asked my inner guide and the answer was obvious. Do it and do it now, Guy’s Guy.  I decided right then to have them removed as quickly as possible. Now I’m sure not everyone would push to undergo back-to-back robotic surgeries within a month’s time, but I knew it was the right call. And now that it is over, I’m glad that I took this course of action.

2. PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS.

In the past many people simply handed themselves over to their medical practitioners.  No second opinions, not enough tough questions asked. I’ve seen this with my family and others. Frankly, in many cases, that’s a potential recipe for disaster. These days, our health care system is in flux. At times, it can be chaotic. This makes it critically important to have your insurance ducks in a row and know what is covered. Then, do anything you can to find the right practitioner for whatever ails you, and in particular, the best surgeon.

Follow directions prior to any procedure and take proper care of yourself throughout the healing process. It makes a difference. If a hospital stay is necessary, bring your own food, water and whatever else provides you with comfort. My hospital offered a free post-operative program that included numerous healing arts including Reiki. It really made a difference.

3. LEARN HOW TO HEAL.

Many of us live under constant pressure, and at times, fear. It doesn’t have to be that way. At some times it’s critical to step out of the whirlwind of our stress-inducing careers and simply be. One way is to set aside a half hour every day for meditation, but how many people actually do this? Not enough. But when life gives you the kind of heads up that I received last year, I made sure to listen to my intuition carefully and do whatever was necessary to heal— physically, mentally, and spiritually. I set time aside each day for positive affirmations and visualizations of my body healing. I actually spoke to my body— thanking it for the wonderful service it has blessed me with over the years. And, I let myself be. I ate well and went to bed early for three months, and it paid off in spades. I did my best to put my career and my personal brand on somewhat on autopilot and I was fortunate that I could afford a short respite from the pressures of a corporate career. This was a special time for me, and in ways, a sacred time. Find the time to take care of yourself. You’re worth it.

4. LIVE IN GRATITUDE. 

Getting caught up in our day-today world and media-driven society makes it easy to forget how and why we got here in the first place. Regardless of your personal beliefs on this very personal subject, we can all agree that we did not do all of this on our own. Somehow, we are here, right now. And although each one of us ultimately determines how our daily lives manifest, we are part of a great universal conscious. The fact that we are even here is a miracle. So thank your lucky stars or whatever you choose for this gift of being alive, on this planet right now. And remember— all we have is the right now and it can change in a heartbeat. Enjoy each day of good health and be thankful for it.

Now it’s time for me to put this experience behind me and put into action all that it taught me about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. I hope I treat people better and learn to respect and not judge. I hope to savor everyone and everything in my life, and know that despite my free will, everything is unfolding just as it should.

This week’s Guys’ Guys of the Week are my inner guide and angels who I know helped me get through this ordeal in a way that will make me a better person.

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