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Because of leap year, it just so happens that my 48th (where I put myself under the X-ray Beam and poured my heart out in a tell-all) and 49th birthdays happen to fall on days that I normally publish posts on my blog (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday).
Given the additional fact that I happened to start this blog on my 47th birthday (publishing it on a Monday before I switched to my current weekly schedule), I have been able to have a post published live on each of my last three birthdays.
Well I can honestly say that this 49th birthday has got to be the strangest one of them all.
Thanks to COVID-19 I will be spending my birthday where I have spent the past month or so, in my home (thankfully as properties go, it is not a bad place to be “trapped” in).
This birthday has weighed on my mind a lot more than others, with or without COVID-19.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, my father, a physician himself (Internist) and inspiration for my medical career path among other things, passed away when he was 50 (and I was 14) from pancreatic cancer.
I knew he passed away at a very young age, but it has taken me all these years to get to the point where I realize just how young he was (I could not appreciate this fully in my youth).
I honestly cannot imagine the feelings that would overcome me if I was told I would be deceased a little over a year from now and it pains me that my father had to deal with those emotions firsthand.
When he received the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer back in the 80s, as a physician he must have known it was almost a guaranteed death sentence, with a typical survival time of about 6 months.
Yet he held it together and never let my mom and I know how grave his illness truly was.
In fact I was in blissful ignorance for the majority of the time as a teenager, thinking my father would recover from his disease and things would go back to normal.
Sadly this made the harsh reality at the end even more harsher as I was not really prepared to lose my father.
Fast forward 35 years and now I find myself with a teenage child of my own, who happens to be the same age that I was at the time of my father’s death.
I can now essentially put myself in my father’s position and go down the dark path of all those emotions he must have had.
If I found out I had just one year to live, my mindset would be full of regret, just as my father had endured all those years before.
My life, up until recently, has always been about delayed gratification.
Put in your time now to enjoy later.
Every physician has undergone some form of delayed gratification because of the very nature of the medical training.
While most individuals leave college, enter the workforce, start a family, and live life, those individuals who are destined for a career in medicine instead thrust themselves into a machine that tests their mental and physical endurance.
Before the first cent is earned, a doctor-in-training, furthur piles on to the debt mountain by typically financing medical school.
Going through residency is only slightly better because this time you finally get (under) paid for your sacrifice of time and family.
After years of training, most of us imagine that we will set ourselves for a much brighter future and truly enjoy our “golden years.”
We thus subject ourselves to this delayed gratification because of the promise of “light at the end of the tunnel.”
What if the light you are heading towards in the tunnel is an oncoming train?
Face it, none of us are getting out of here alive.
However the length of your life thread can vary.
It all depends on the 3 fates and in particular, Atropos.
It was indeed a tragedy for my father’s thread to be cut short by her.
I know he did not want to leave a young family behind.
He also would never get to enjoy the golden years he sacrificed his youth and worked so hard for.
My dark place.
It is a bit of self-torture but my father’s mortality has been on my mind lately because of this particular birthday (and I assume the next).
I imagine myself going through a similar scenario with my own daughter.
On top of the regret of not enjoying life fully in the years I had been given, the biggest pangs of sadness occur when I realize that I would never see my daughter become a successful adult in whatever career she chooses (she still is stating that she wants to be a physician) and have kids of her own.
My father never got to see me follow his footsteps and become a physician.
Nor did he ever get to see his granddaughter whom I am sure he would be over the moon about.
My daughter never got to see an amazing role model in my father as well.
I guarantee that this is a point of sorrow for all parties involved.
On a lighter note.
I realize the post up to this point has been pretty morbid, especially when today is supposed to be a day of celebration for me.
I will say I am happy to celebrate the 2nd full year of blogging which is an achievement I never envisioned when I first set out writing.
I honestly thought the creative well would dry out within a couple of months or two but so far it still seems to be producing material (this will officially be my 299th post).
Given that most blogs die in the first 100 days, to last 732 days (and counting) is indeed no small feat and only fellow bloggers can truly appreciate it.
I still am floored at the global reach this little website has obtained, with people from all corners of the world taking the time to read whatever word salad my mind can come up with.
I am especially thankful to those readers who have taken the time to comment on various posts.
It makes things far more personal and meaningful for me when I receive a comment that allows me to interact with you on a 1-on-1 level (as of this writing there have been 3626 comments with slightly less than half of them because of my responses).
One of the unheralded aspects of blogging is for me to have an outlet for my creativity, whether it be in words or images.
As a radiologist, I am particularly visually oriented, and thus take great pride in what I have created in all the Pinterest Pins associated with this blog (please check it out and see a visual timeline of my blog).
Of course no one can predict the future.
I truly hope that there are several more yards of my life thread yet to be spun by Clotho so that I can lap the sun many more times.
I have finally started beginning to truly enjoy life by now undertaking the travel I have put off for so many years (although 2020 has already laid waste to one such planned trip).
I also took a major step forward in my relationship last year, becoming engaged, and I really am looking forward to spending decades with her and enjoying all that life has to offer with her by my side.
As far as my blogging journey, I hope to keep building on that first difficult step I made two years ago and would love to see it continue to grow.
Who knows where my path takes me, both in the blogging world and personal world, but I definitely know that it is important to enjoy the journey every bit as much as the desired destination.
Stay safe my friends and thanks for being right along side me this entire time.
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Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
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