Choosing Life

January 8, 2009 |

Maybe it’s because I’m feeling great this morning after a new workout regimen I started at the gym yesterday, but this piece in today’s New York Times, Disease Invades a Body, and Endorphins Kick In, is so uplifting I have to share it. It describes people with serious illnesses - diabetes, brain cancer, advanced coronary disease - just throwing in the towel - to run 5 and 10K marathons and entering Ironman competitions! As one woman who had never exercised in her life, and had undergone the series of treatments for breast cancer said, “Something had changed. I was desperate to feel my body again. I needed to know it was still there.” It’s a “fascinating if somewhat incongruous equation,” says the reporter, “people fighting sickness or disease who are, at the same time, in the best shape of their lives.”

Curiously, no mention was made of whether, or how, their actions may have impacted the course of their illness, although the man diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2002 is still alive today. But perhaps what matters most is that their diagnosis didn’t make them forget that they are still alive, and in spite of everything, they’ve chosen to feel, to focus on what’s good and healthy and vital, and to be courageous enough to savor the life they have.

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