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Ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 1 of 72 women; 14,000 will die. Please know the symptoms and risk factors: read Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. Books at www.amazon.com. ALL PROCEEDS GO TO GYNECOLOGIC CANCER RESEARCH. I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writer's International Society of Authors, and Patient Leadership Council for Tesaro, Inc. I WILL NOT USE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE THAN CONTACTING YOU DIRECTLY. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2018.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


No, this is not about Oscar Wilde's play, "The Importance of Being Earnest." It is about four men who represent determination, a sense of purpose, and strength. Despite some serious health challenges they each faced them in earnest, or with fierce and intense conviction. I admire each of them and I know there are lessons to learn from them. They are wonderful role models.

  I am highlighting four people, who like my friend, Earnest are inspirational. He suffered a series of three strokes from 2011 to 2013. He is 62 years old, has high blood pressure, has lost his ability to return to his job, and is the father of 4 adult children. "The last stroke was the worst. Then I lost almost all function on the left side of my body."

   I met Earnest at the YMCA where he goes three times a week to exercise. He is tenacious with his exercises from the bicycle, to weights, and to the tai chi classes. He said "I am not angry at God nor do I blame Him. I do blame one doctor who did not do anything about my blood pressure which kept rising."

   He is slender of built, states he has not always eaten well, but has always been physically active, and is a former basketball player for one of the European teams. "You have to take care of your health. You only have one body and it cannot be traded in for a new model."

   Another person who is inspirational to me does everything in earnest despite his limitations. My neighbor Bert has been afflicted with macular degeneration which has left him legally blind. A couple of years ago he fell and broke his femur. One leg is one inch shorter than the other which is now causing some hip and back pain. Yet, it does not keep Bert down in the doldrums. "It is what it is," he says with a smile on his face. "Soon I will be 77 years old and that is quite an accomplishment."

   He faithfully went through rehabilitation for his broken femur doing the exercises with a smile on his face. Bert is a former high school history teacher and coached basketball and baseball. He knows the importance of exercise. He is also slender of built and has always been active in athletics. "I don't think I am inspirational," after I asked permission to write about him. In Bert's easy manner there is a gentle determination and conviction when making the best of his physical limitations.

   John bicycled 20-25 miles a day, which he has done for some 40 years. His slender built, smiling face, and friendly demeanor left all of us shocked to hear that he had a double bypass a few months ago. He and his wife are very conscientious about good nutrition and her incredibly good recipes and cooking make it easy to eat right.

   Three times a week John has been going to rehab for cardiac exercises under the guidance of the program at Florida Hospital. He has not returned to bicycling yet though one can see the excitement and determination in his eyes when the subject comes up.

   John always has a smile, a helping hand, and a hug for everyone. He has been a successful businessman whose career required the same sense of earnestness as does his present health challenge.

   Earnest should be the middle name of my husband, Jim who has met the challenge of his general health and more recently his extensive back surgery. Three years ago he decided to lose weight and return to the level of exercise and activity he enjoyed most of his life. "I used to play racquetball every day." He played football in high school and college.

   He joined the YMCA and went there 5-6 times a week working on the elliptical, stationary bicycle, and weights. Jim's back started giving him more pain and episodes of spasm that "sent me to the floor. I have known for 25 years I had stenosis, but did not realize how serious it was." 

   His surgery took 5 hours instead of the usual 2 hours because the arthritic vertebrae were so deeply calcified they looked like the top of the femur. Now it will be several months of recovery but he is determined to return to the YMCA and get back into his exercise regimen as soon as possible. He uses humor, common sense, and determination to overcome his present condition.

   All four of these men have lessons for all of us.
          1. Attitude is everything!
          2. Sense of humor is evident with each and their big smiles are bright lights.
          3. Each of them has always been earnest about taking good care of themselves.
          4. And they have each been involved in sports.

   Our bodies are still vulnerable, fragile, and our family history plays into our health status.  What we do with our bodies today; what our attitude is; how we eat today; and what exercising we do...and knowing our family health history ALL ARE IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF OUR FUTURE HEALTH.
                              Thank you, Ernest, Burt, John, and Jim for sharing your stories. 
                                          You are inspiring and outstanding role models.