This will be a brief post. I had this moment this morning that made me have such a sensation of empathy that I felt led to do a little writing on the subject.
Now, if you look up the definition of empathy in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary you will find the following:
1: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this
2: the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it
So, what sparked this sensation of empathy this morning? Well, I have been having some health issues. Nothing terminal. Thankfully. Its just an issue that I ignored for a long, long time. Because I ignored the issue until it could no longer be ignored, the problem has currently reached its most advanced stage. What is this problem? It’s Stage 4 endometriosis. What’s the big deal about it? The big deal is that during my monthly menstrual cycles I experience excruciating pain and other troublesome intestinal symptoms that have made it difficult to function, much less work. I have had many other of the symptoms of endometriosis that occur month-long for years now as well. It’s easy to ignore those though. It’s when you begin to be unable to continue your life’s activities that you have to admit there is a problem. I finally sought medical attention and since have undergone many tests and a few attempts at treatment. I most recently attempted to undergo surgical intervention, which was aborted due to the severity of my disease. Turns out there are things attached to other things in there that could cause big problems if anything went wrong. The next steps for treatment include seeing a specialist in robotic surgery. This specialist just so happens to work with West Clinic Cancer Centers.
So, this morning I decide to check the mailbox and I get my packet from West Clinic. I open it and look through it and notice that, of course, there are questions included regarding what kind of cancer you may or may not have or have ever had in the past. Suddenly, I felt this overwhelming sensation of what it must feel like if you are receiving this packet, not for endometriosis and specialist surgical procedures, but because you have just been diagnosed with cancer. I imagined how it would feel to be completing this packet with that knowledge. With that truly overwhelming fact weighing you down. Suddenly my worries and fears about my health, my work, my finances and what is going to happen with me just felt minuscule in comparison. It’s amazing what a little perspective can do to spark empathy and make you open your eyes to look beyond “me.”
Why are any of the words I’ve written above important? Because it could help this world if we had more perspective and empathy. If we can see beyond ourselves and our immediate surroundings and circumstances, we as individuals will gain a new sense of appreciation. We will be able to recognize the good, the bad, and the ugly. We may begin to see the needs of others that are much greater and more immediate. We may recognize that there is something we can do about it. We may begin to create good change in the world.
What is another thing that is important about my story? It is the fact that if your body is trying to tell you something is wrong, don’t ignore it. I know all of the reasons why it is easier to ignore. There’s no time, no money, more important things going on, people to take care of other than yourself, etc. You may have very limited means and feel you have no access to healthcare. I encourage you to talk to someone. Do some checking around. There are many clinics now that will see you regardless of insurance coverage or income. There are clinics that will assist you with obtaining your medications if you have limited resources. Just don’t do nothing. When you wait until you can’t anymore, the problem becomes compounded and far more expensive and troublesome to deal with.
So the take away for today is don’t ignore yourself. Take care of yourself. And then, look outside of yourself and help take care of others as well. May God bless and keep each of you as you go through your days. Thank you for reading and considering my thoughts today!