Sometimes Bad News Is Good News

Last November I got really sick. I have no idea what it was but at the time I was certain that I was dying. My lower back and neck hurt, I was waking up soaked from a fever and I was tired and weak. I lost about 7 pounds because I wasn’t eating and I couldn’t go to the gym. When I finally went to the doctor the preliminary urine test was positive for protein. A quick search on the Internet revealed that protein in the urine is a bad sign, often an indication of kidney problems and there didn’t seem to be any non-serious reasons for it being there.

So I did what I do best, I thought about the implications of kidney failure and planned the rest of my life. I was scared and sad. At 33, if the test was accurate, I was in for some big changes. It was a tough couple of days before I went to my doctor to get the result of a formal lab test. It was negative for protein. In fact, the test was normal for everything. The doctor said that I’d die one day, but it wasn’t going to be from kidney failure related to what I was sick with at that moment in time. He didn’t know what it was and since I wasn’t feverish anymore or in any pain, I should just go back to living my life and assume that it was just an infection of some kind that my body killed.

And that’s what I did, for the most part.

It was a warm November day when I got out of the doctors office and as I walked to the GO train station to find my way back to Port Credit where I parked my car, I was smiling and happy. The news that I was going to die eventually was good news to me because I thought it was going to be a lot sooner. I bought a coffee and read a few chapters of “Way Of The Peaceful Worrier”. I’ve read the book before but on this particular day, the words seemed to resonate with me more than usual. I felt a little out of sorts; I felt wiser for some reason and I was more grateful than I had ever been.

That feeling is still within me. I wake up most mornings with a profound sense of joy for being healthy. I’m still eating better and taking pretty good care of my body. I’m sticking to my workouts and trying a lot of different training approaches with new exercises. The biggest change has been my movement towards doing new things in general, be it food choices, fitness activities, hobbies or new attitudes towards things, my life is more enjoyable now than any time before.

I think it was because I had started to prepare myself for a fractured life revolving around an illness that I didn’t end up having. The uplift from thinking that I was going to die from something to realizing that I wasn’t going to die from it clearly demonstrated to me that my mood has very little to do with the reality of a situation and almost everything to do with my perception of the situation. I’ve had this lesson before but this is the longest it has stayed with me. I hope it sticks around.