My ideas about what it means to be healthy have changed over my 30 year medical career. As a practicing surgeon, I believed that health was about being perfect. I have come to believe that health is about being perfectly you. Health is not as much about what’s in your medical record as it is about how you respond to your life circumstances.
Think about Christopher Reeve. He considered suicide after his tragic accident. However, he decided that instead of ending his life, he would strive to be the best version of himself, and in so doing became a real life Superman.
Gratitude and giving affirm health. That’s why I think of Thanksgiving as the holiday of health.
So, please allow me to share a personal story of gratitude.
Shortly after Thanksgiving last year, my 15-year-old son injured himself wrestling. Let me say right here that he lives to wrestle. We worked with excellent doctors at eight different health facilities. Instead of wrestling, he observed every single practice and every single meet from the sidelines. His disappointment was palpable.
He missed most of the lacrosse season, too.
Our whole family was inspired by “Uncle Tiny.” At age 91, Sy Perlis broke the world bench press record.
My son followed the footsteps of his great uncle and started powerlifting. Miraculously, he was able to lift without pain.
Uncle Tiny suggested that my son enter the WABDL world powerlifting competition. He even invited my son down to Arizona to train with his coach. My son had 9 weeks to get ready for the event. And he broke a world record!
The wrestling season began a few weeks ago, and my son is giving it another try. He’s facing the disappointing reality that he may never be able to wrestle again.
I’m grateful that my son found a new passion that works for him today. As a mother, I’m grateful that my son approaches adulthood with the resilience and dedication and optimism that will contribute to life-long success. These are also ingredients for health.
Every person and every family and every business has setbacks. No matter where you are personally, professionally or financially, health is an option. The formula for health is simple. Be who you are. Know what you know. Do what you need to do.
Enjoy today’s Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends. Hope your meal is delightful and your football team does well. Wishing you a holiday season filled with health and light and joy.
Vicki Rackner MD
PS If you know someone living with chronic pain, click here for resources about how to make a positive difference.
PPS Consider directing some of your Black Friday funds to the people in the Philippines who need our help.