When Things Fall Apart: Reflection by Dr. Richard Deming

I continue my recovery after a training ride on a beautiful Saturday morning in July, in which a bump into a bicycle resulted in me crashing on the road.  I laid unconscious, with ten broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a fractured scapula, a punctured lung and a hemopneumothorax.  I was treated for two weeks at Mercy Hospital, including five days in ICU, and three days in rehab.

This gave me ample time to reflect on this bump in the road.  We can’t live life without bumps in the road, nor should you want to live a life without bumps in the road.  My bump in the road is nothing like a cancer diagnosis but it was certainly a wake-up call.

I was hospitalized one other time in my 64 years of life, and this time I thought a little of “why me?” Then, I became deeply grateful to be alive and humbled by the thousands of comforting touches from friends online and in person.

It’s been rewarding being on the opposite side of the profession, learning the perspective of a patient and a caregiver.  Sometimes, I have fear and trepidation. Just as cancer survivors have on their journey. I wonder, is trekking in Tibet beyond my reach? What if I can’t do it? What if I fail?  My first steps out of the hospital bed was a circumambulation of the nurse’s station. So I began again, in preparation of the circumambulation of Mt. Kailash.

As I heal and reflect, I know others are facing worse adversities.  We know joy because of grief. We know the highs because of the lows.  We know light because of dark. With this wisdom, I can illuminate my own life and the life of others.

I have learned that, life becomes deeper, richer, and more emotional when we lean into the difficulties. Things don’t get solved; they come together, they fall apart, and come together again. We learn to put priorities into perspective. Difficulty teaches us what we are capable. We realize the strength within, and that strength grows into resiliency.

We cultivate a sense of gratitude for the help and support of people, and a second chance at life. From gratitude, compassion and generosity blossom, with a motivation to pay it forward.

Above and Beyond Cancer gives the opportunity for survivors, caregivers, and the community to cultivate resilience, compassion, and gratitude.

Life will fall apart, and we learn to put ourselves back together again. Just as I am learning, slowly, gradually, surely, to take on a challenge, one step at a time.

Thanks for all your kind words and support,

One Response to “When Things Fall Apart: Reflection by Dr. Richard Deming”

  1. Wendy and Greg Sander

    As the Rev said on the way up the mountain – “one more step”

    We are thinking of you and hope your recovery continues at a rapid pace!!

    Greg and Wendy Sander


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