The start of the millennium was very promising. I had started a new venture, a technology firm in the heart of the Silicon Valley. We had a good group of people and we were talking to investors. I had put all my resources, time and effort into it
It happened suddenly. It was mid-morning on June 14, 2000. I was in my office working on my computer when I felt a sudden stiffness in my shoulders and throbbing pain creeping up through my neck and engulfing my head. In seconds, I was not able to move my head or shoulders without considerable pain.
How naïve I was about my body and medical problems. Here I was, trying to launch a new startup that would change the world and give me enough money to retire to a peaceful life on a remote island. Dreams. Faulty dreams of materialism. In retrospect, I only wanted to run away from Silicon Valley, a place that used to be wonderful, offering great opportunities to anyone willing to work hard. But the high-tech boom fueled a business rat race, traffic congestion and a soaring cost of living that evaporated many dreams.
I was in good health, my doctor recently told me. Except for hypertension kept under control through moderate medication, in fact, I was in excellent health. Since our startup needed to conserve cash, we did not have health insurance. Of course, I didn’t need it, I thought. Nothing could happen to me. I was invulnerable. I would live forever. When my company would go public, I would buy immortality. I may even cryogenically freeze myself. I could afford that. I would just return in another century and start another company. There are times when dreams become fantasies: a dangerous divide.
I thought my pain was a migraine headache. When I couldn’t find any aspirin or Tylenol, I decided to drive myself to the nearest drugstore. But once I reached the first intersection, and realized I could not even turn my head without suffering considerable pain, I returned to my office. I called my doctor and made an appointment for later in the day, then I drove myself home. I should not have driven. But, I was strong. I could do it.
I did not have a migraine, of course; I was suffering a brain hemorrhage. I tried to sleep. The pain became worse, so, I went to emergency at the local hospital. In trying to find the cause of the hemorrhage, they performed an angiogram, which induced a stroke that nearly killed me. After my recovery, I discovered that I lost my left peripheral vision and could not read well. My singing ability, in which I took pride and performed concerts throughout the area, had suffered. I had difficulty recognizing people’s faces. My spatial visual field limited my movement. I knew I could not heal in the rehab hospital in which I was placed and voluntarily left to start my own spiritual and physical recovery. I learned to crawl again, then stand, then walk, and then run. I regained near full strength on my left side. My reading ability returned and memory blossomed.
Then, on February 4, 2002, I learned I had cancer. Although I went through radiation and recovered completely, these incidents made me realize it was time to examine my life. My body had spoken and it made me think. What lessons have I learned? I will not, in fact, live forever – what can I do to make my remaining years as productive and happy as possible? As I am a writer, I wrote these lessons down and now share them with you.
- Plans Don’t Work
- Not Everything Can Be Explained
- Mind Breakdowns Happen
- Be Responsible for Your Decisions
- Don’t Hold Onto the Past
- Love is Real
- Don’t Give Up
- You Must Listen to Your Inner Voice
- Do Not Hold a Grudge and Be Bitter
- Timing Plays a Big Part in Life
- Life Can Be Cruel
- Good Friendships are Rare, But They Do Exist.