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1161780 tn?1266711844

Comparison or Compromise?

If asked if the current state of your heart disease is acceptable, how would you answer?

It’s a tough one; I know.  Just yesterday I was asked this very question.  “If, when we first met, your chest pain and quality of life was terrible, 10 being terrible, what number would you assign your quality of life now?” asked my super-hero of a doctor, Dr. Bairey-Merz.

Looking her straight in the face, I responded, “That’s a tough thing to quantify”.

How do you assign a number to the quality of your life?  Of course, I understood the question.  I realized that she needed a figure to determine where I am on my journey.  How else is she to know what to try next.  

Leaning back in my chair, I looked down at my hands and fiddled with my ring.  Slowly raising my eyes, I assigned a number to my life.  

“I estimate my quality of life currently to be a 3”.  Her face relaxed a bit, but I saw no smile.  “About 75% better than when we first met; would you agree?” she asked.  

That’s when it occurred to me.  Her face gave her away.  This was the best it would ever be.

The Best Compared To What?
Every six weeks I visit my wonderful doctors.  With each passing week, however, something very interesting has happened.   My visits with both Dr. Bairey-Merz and the fabulous Dr. Margo Minissian focus more on managing my condition and less on curing me.  ‘Curing me’….  Only now am I beginning to realize how stupid I was to think that I would be cured.  After all, I have Microvascular heart disease.  You can’t operate on the tiny vessels around your heart.  Bummer.

Why Compare?
I know my life will not be returning to the old ‘normal’.  To be sure, 75% better is better than 0% better.  Even still, the problem isn’t so much in the number assigned to my quality of life as in having to assign a number.  

It’s hard not to compare.  But remember; comparisons do one of two things; they either make you feel bad because others have it better than you or make you feel better because others have it worse than you.  Either way you lose.

So, I will stop comparing my current self to my old self.  I will stop comparing what I could do then to what I can do now.  I’ll stop comparing --- period.  

Call it a compromise if you will.  But life is worth living.  Nothing compares to that.

Rebecca Fortunato
5 Responses
Avatar universal
Nice post !:)
187666 tn?1331173345
I agree with vienna: nice post, well written. It's hard to accept that we may never be like most other people in terms of heart function. But when we do reach that point of acceptance, that our body is unique in this way, does that mean we've given up on life?  No. There's still so much we CAN do. And we're not the only people living with certain limitations. It doesn't mean we sit back and focus on those. That's depressing and self defeating.

Look at Stephen Hawking. Confined to a wheelchair, can barely move anything, can't talk but his mind is amazing and he's constantly exploring new things. We need to explore the good around us and appreciate that.
907968 tn?1292622204
If asked if the current state of your heart disease is acceptable, how would you answer?

  Very strange question!!

  Isn't this kind of like asking;  Does it hurt more when I thrust the knife UP into your heart or if I stab you Strait In?  Your stabbing me either way and the outcome will be very similar so why ask such a question?  "Yes Dr. I like having a deadly disease".  Such a questions should have been changed to ask, "What can we do to further eliminate the disease?".  I would have excepted "Do you feel better now than when we first met?" but not asking if having a deadly disease is better than being near death with the same deadly disease.

  Semantics I guess, and I would have stated the above with a smile and a non threatening way to my Dr. (secretly wanting to slap him hard) so that he would figure it out that that was a stupid question and I'm giving him the opportunity to rephrase it.  Of course if he didn't rephrase it I'd have to question where he got his license to practice.
Avatar universal
My Dr would talk to me only about what ever I want to talk about.:) Like music, food.
He never ask more question then.: How are you?

Ireneo great example.

As they say in positive thinking: We create our reality from our Thoughts, Feelings, Choices and Beliefs................ Isnt that true?:)

  Well ofcourse we can be down time to time, we are only human, but if we love ourselves first and most we will not let ourselves suffering long. And being ill. I do not feel ill at all,only my heart has a certain condition, just like my skin is white, or my eyes are green. This is how I see it., not as an awful  illness.So I love my heart!!!!!!!! If we do suffer more then feeling an occasional pain(and taking it with smile , saying it is it, so what?)  we do not love ourselves enough. Then we should go back to work on it. Lots of help can come from that simple thought, that we are not this body only, but much more.  When I say :Loving ourselves I do not think to be selfish egoist ofcourse:). Those are selfish egoist are full of themselves. Also real self-love will help us to love others too….

Have a great week-end Ladies and Gentlemen !
159619 tn?1538180937
Thanks for the post, it was interesting to read your thoughts again. It must be difficult to access one's condition with no real reference point and no real end point to consider. To take the position of saying my life starts now and I will live it to the best of my abilities is a bold statement for anyone living with a disease, be it heart disease, diabetes or cancer. I just watched my dear uncle reach his "end point" with cancer and we buried him after 4 years a couple days ago. He always said, "it's not what I was then, it's what I am now and I won't worry about what I've lost, rather I'll be concerned with what I have ahead of me to look forward to"

I always admired that thinking, he never obsessed on where he had been in life, only where he was headed. What was out of his hands did not concern him.

Thanks for the post.

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