I met with my cardiologist Friday and for the second time in a month, she said something about asking myself “why me?” This is not a question that I ask myself. It just never occurs to me. What are we asking when we ask this question? Why me and not someone else? Why me, I am special and bad things shouldn’t happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? Although I imagine she hears all of these questions on a regular basis, none of them feel helpful to me.
Questions I did begin to ask last fall were, “why is all of this happening?” “What is the reason for or meaning of all of these events?” For those of you who are not of the same spiritual mindset as I, this may feel like a stretch. However, for me it is meaningful, explanatory, and a blessing.
Let’s briefly look at the timeline again. I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve and at some time (we have no idea when), I developed an ascending and partially descending thoracic aortic aneurysm. I lost about 80 pounds and then began working on strength training. By August 2011, I was starting to bump up my weights, lifting heavier. And, I broke my rib. This slowed my progress and actually set me back some. By Halloween 2011, I was back in shape and was bumping up the weights. I injured myself while pushing the most weight (200 LBS) that I had ever pushed on the leg press. That set me back and while still in pain, I was in a car accident. The accident took me out of the gym for about 8 weeks. As a result of my compromised immune system, I became ill with scarlet fever. The cough from this illness was slow to resolve, so I had a chest x-ray. The abnormal x-ray led to CT scans, an echocardiogram, and a transesophogeal echocardiogram (TEE). This combination allowed for a diagnosis of a problem (the aneurysm) that is usually diagnosed at autopsy. It has no real symptoms until it becomes a problem and at that point can quickly lead to death.
The blessing? Had I continued to progress in my weight training, I could very well have pushed myself further than my aorta could handle. At best, this would have been an awful event. At worst, I could have died. Again, this may challenge your beliefs, but not mine. Life, God, fate, or some combination of the three intervened and actually saved my life.
So I guess I could ask…Why me?
Why was I so lucky?
How did I receive such a blessing?
What can I do with this wonderful gift that I have been given?