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My Pink Slip

Dear Friends and Relatives:

This is a difficult Schlagbyte…I am reluctant to share this story because I am afraid you will see me in a different way; but this is the reality of my life and I want to face it openly.

Over the past several months I’ve been getting easily fatigued, and short of breath with only the mildest exertion. I’ve had high blood pressure for years but controlled and closely followed, but now my heart beat is irregular. Thorough diagnostic evaluation including biopsies, reveal my heart is working harder because of a rare disease called Cardiac Amyloidosis. My heart muscle is slowly being replaced by the buildup of an abnormal protein called Amyloid. This disease comes in several forms, some treatable but not often curable.

My type has been developing over years, shows up in the elderly, and generally continues for years; so, my demise is not imminent and I don’t want you to hear or read this as a farewell letter. I just have a diagnosis; don’t let it create an expectation that I have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I’m living and still have a story to tell, I’m exercising, writing, clowning, and not so short of breath that it’s stopped me from flapping my lips albeit not quite as fast as goose droppings through a slide trombone.

How do I feel? Like I’ve just gotten a pink slip in my pay envelope informing me that there is a termination date for my employment in this life; the reality of what’s happening inside me has changed my world. I treasure my independence and like to believe I have some control of my destiny even though I understand it’s by and large illusory.

My dignity is important to me; debility, immobilization and vegetative states are unacceptable. I want to have some say in how I approach my final chapter, and I’m thinking telling this story may be my most meaningful legacy. Actually, it’s the same story I’ve been telling for years: success in life has nothing to do with what happens to you, but rather the choices you make about how you come to what’s happened; that it’s you who have it not it that has you; and that it’s possible to be healed even if not cured.

So that’s my story and this is how I’m coming to it. I surely want your prayers and blessings but please don’t hover over me, or deluge me with potential cures, because I am in good hands. I’ll keep you informed periodically, meanwhile I’m living my life to the fullest.

I am enormously grateful for the experience of my life and have been so blessed to be surrounded by love, purpose and the opportunity to do my dance. Dance with me, let’s laugh, and celebrate the ridiculous together, while I walk a talk that I’ve shared for years.

Thank you all for being with me….. I say this for all my relations, Mi Takuye Oyacin

 

9 Responses to “My Pink Slip”

  1. Colin Glover says:

    Dr Carl how can I think lesser of you when you have been part of my journey for many years. We are of similar ages and life challenges. You have the courage to put yourself out there and be our pseudo spokesperson just like you have for many other causes. Thank you for your presence over the years and I look forward for your being my spokesperson for many years to come.

    Cheers

  2. Patricia Bartosik says:

    Dr. Carl,
    Sorry to hear about your cardiac situation. I had a heart attack at age 62 and it was scary. Something about heart disease that makes us feel powerless, I think. My cardiologist said that I most likely would need to take Ativan but I did not do this. I walked through it, dealt with it with a clear head and heart. got healthier with diet and exercise and paid attention to stress. I still work 3 days a week which is enough for me. I am sending deep prayers to you tonight and will continue to pray about your situation. You are such a wonderful person and I am blessed to have found you on the internet. Take one day at a time and know that you are loved by so many people.

  3. katelon says:

    Sending on blessings!

  4. barb b says:

    Prayers absolutely! Your book(s) gave me hope and insights when I was wandering mostly lost in the woods. Your blog touches our hearts and your always present gentle and huge! humor and love of life have lifted us up more than once. So..know you are surrounded with our blessings as you travel this path. Thankyou! Barb and Michael B.

  5. Annie Morrison says:

    Huge hug. Love from Northern California.
    Annie

  6. Ermalynn Kiehl says:

    My prayer is that you retain strength and have many many more years to bring inspiration to others.Let all of the wonderful advice you give to others sustain you. Warmly, Ermalynn

  7. Mark says:

    We have not met in person, but I have been following you for years. As I have been preparing starting the journey of my own medical career you have been a light to me, and will continue to be. Thank you for sharing and connecting through the openness of your story – it is an honour to hear. – Mark

  8. Tom Egnew says:

    Thoughts and prayers for many years, much laughter, and abundant love. Tom

  9. Jeff Villmer says:

    Doc, great message; thank you.

    May the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The god of my fathers – and my savior – engulf you in the power of the Holy Spirit. May you see the future with a clear conscience and a loving heart. May you continue to be an inspiration to those you meet along the path. May you be humble in spirit and grateful in heart. May you always be held in the palm of his hand.

    Your friend, in the same spirit of he who created the heavens and the earth,

    Jeff

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Dr. Carl A. Hammerschlag, M.D., CPAE is a psychiatrist, author, and professional keynote speaker. He is an authority in the science of psychoneuroimmunology mind, body, spirit medicine and speaks about health and wellness, healing, leadership and authenticity . He has delivered motivational keynote speeches to corporate and business clients around the world.