The stubborn comes from my grandmother, Rita Rosamund Tierney Garvey. Tough as her over-cooked corned beef, Rita did not back down, especially when her Irish was up. I get a little of that from her, especially the tendency to let fly with colorful language every now and then — and I’m not talking colorful as in poetic — I’m talking colorful as is in “@#%^&!!!” The proof? Drop something, spill a drink, lose your keys, in front of Robirda (my African Grey), and she’ll shout loudly and in my voice, “Oh, crap!”
So, when my doctor asked me how I got so stubborn, I told him about Rita. But when he asked where my risk-based approach to my health comes from, I told him about you. And it wasn’t until he asked the question that I realized I should tell all of you how grateful I am that you’ve managed to rub off on me.
I’ve written about and for this industry for almost 20 years, and while I’m not a continuity professional, I sure can sound like one. You’ve colored my language and shaped my thought processes, as much as my chain-smoking (unfiltered Pall Malls, yeah, she was THAT stubborn) battle-axe of a grandmother. From her I learned to stick to my guns (and not to smoke). From you, I learned to think critically, to assess risks, to get creative and find alternatives, to network, and to seek out best practices and innovation.
So, when the first round of doctors diagnosed me and told me there was no known cause and no cure for what I’ve got and that my only choice was to take dangerous drugs (with side effects like lymphoma and MS lesions on the brain) that would wreck my immune system and only “help manage” my symptoms, I gave them the heave ho and a Rita-inspired “Hell no!” My risk tolerance isn’t that high.
I’ve spent the last year exploring alternative treatments and searching for a cause and cure. And when I brought the latest pile of research to my current doctor (a nice guy with an open mind), I think he was shocked to discover that what I turned up actually had merit. And so, I start a new protocol later this month, one with risks and potential outcomes that I can accept and for which I can plan.
For the first time in a long time, I am hopeful that someday I’ll be able to play catch with my son again, go for a hike, walk unassisted. And for that, I thank YOU. I don’t think I’d have been able to look as critically and dispassionately at the risks and make the choices I’ve made without having known you. And this morning when I learned that an online buddy — with the same condition and who was diagnosed around the same time as I — is now losing the battle with lymphoma, I thought about how what you do influences who I am. You’ve not only made your organizations safer and smarter, you’ve done the same for me. You may have even saved my life.
A million thanks.
Director of Communications