How Hope Can Preserve Your Life

Healthy Life Extension

Funding Aging Research

How Hope Can Preserve Your Life

Dear Future Centenarian,

While I was in the rehab center learning how to manage pain and adjust to life in a wheelchair, I spent a good part of my days searching for a cure that the docs insisted does not exist.

Had I listened to the medical staff, I may not be alive today. What kept me going was hope. They tried to strip me of that. The department head and the head neurologist temporarily threw me into despair.

The department head was a mess. I never saw him without a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket, and if his belly were any bigger, he would have needed a wheelbarrow to cart it around. That was his business though, and I didn™t judge him one way or another until he made it MY business.

Want to know how he did that? Unbelievably, he tried imposing his values on me. Now that you know me as you do, you understand how important fitness, diet, nutritional supplements and a healthy lifestyle are to me. This turkey waddled into my room one day, looked at my vitamins on a shelf and said to the patient before him who needed a psychological boost: œI could never understand why people would exercise and take vitamins.

This is an honest-to-goodness true story. And those were his exact words, forever embedded in my memory banks.

Strangely, I didn™t get angry. I actually felt sorry for the doc, not for myself. Don™t get me wrong, I was extremely depressed, but I never felt sorry for myself.

He said this to me shortly after the head neurologist insisted: œYou™ll never regain functional use of your legs. Again, his exact words, and I don™t exactly have the world™s best memory. Those words had me trying to figure out how to negotiate myself to, open and flip myself out of the window. Yep, after he repeated that sentiment often enough, I became suicidal. Even when I told him he was discounting future medical breakthroughs, he said I would never live long enough to see them.

I hope he kept his day job, because he™d starve as a motivational speaker.

That™s what I needed too, a motivating physician. Sure, their job in rehab is to get people to accept and adjust to whatever it is they lost. But there are constructive ways and destructive ways to go about that.

A constructive way would have been to say something like: œLook, we all know you had a devastating injury that has suddenly turned your life upside down. I wish I could cure you, but I can™t. Nobody can. At least not now. Medical research will solve most of our problems someday, so even if it takes a very long time, never give up hope. Meanwhile, all we can do for you is to help make your life as comfortable and as rewarding as we can under these circumstances. And if the day comes when there™s a cure for you, what we™re doing here will help prepare you for that day.

End of story. That way, depression and sense of loss are at least partially offset by hope. Without hope, we have nothing. What bleak lives we would face without hope for the future.

Can you imagine your mental state if you were completely stripped of hope in every aspect of your life? What would you have to look forward to? Suicide rates would soar, and the rest of us would slowly deteriorate on a cellular level, since negative thoughts undermine every cell in your body.

Hope and optimism energize our cells and help keep us disease free and vitalized.

And so it is with aging. Is it any surprise that old men get grumpy? Don™t you think they™d be much more cheerful if they had real hope for youthful energetic futures?

A good friend of mine said if he didn™t think he had a chance for a greatly extended life, he™d stay drunk all the time. As it is, he™s one of the hardest working and most productive people I know. And fortunately for you, he works in the longevity industry. He™s a key person actually.

On the flip side, I wonder how many people on Skid Row would be gainfully and happily employed if they had hope for whatever might be most important to them.

So the take home lesson is, hope energizes you. It rejuvenates every cell in your body. It gives you purpose. If sickness, aging, financial or personal problems get you down, try to see a way through it by finding keys that point to real hope of things getting better down the road.

More Life,
David Kekich

P.S. A friend wrote to me about a doctor who is using a novel approach to treat his daughter™s chronic pain. The physician™s name? œDr. Hope. Is that a great name or what?
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