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Still Punching My Time Card

I’ve been vacationing in the Pacific Northwest over the last several weeks, and in the midst of family joys got this additional great news. A drug specifically designed to treat my type of cardiomyopathy, has just been released on the market.

Tafamidis (Vyndaqel) prevents the continued accumulation of amyloid in the heart muscle. It doesn’t undo the damage already done but it seems to stop its continued production. Like most new drugs for serious diseases this one is also prohibitively expensive ($250,000 a year). 

I don’t personally know anyone who can afford even the co-pay, that insurance doesn’t cover. Fortunately, there are myriad Foundations established to assist patients, and with their help, I just started taking it. Who knows how much longer it will allow me to live, but longevity is less important to me than the quality of my life still remaining. My heart is failing, but I’m coming to every day engaged in the moment, and for the most part joyful. 

A friend said to me, that I seemed to be handling my situation with aplomb. I don’t hear that word used much anymore), it means to be poised, collected and composed. I’m not sure that’s the right adjective to describe my current status; I mean there are surely times when I’m collected and composed, but there are also times when I am filled with uncertainty, and the awareness of my gradual losses. I don’t hang on to those lamentations, not because I’m cool and/or self-assured, it’s more because I’m growing reconciled with my fate, and moving down a path I was always meant to follow.

I am writing, learning, teaching, and playing, and surrounded by a loving family and community who keep me grounded in the present. I got this pink slip, but I’m still punching my time card every day.

6 Responses to “Still Punching My Time Card”

  1. Stevie Moffic says:

    Carl, so good you are cool and standing tall among the tall trees of the Pacific Northwest. Indeed, you are a tall tree among us, surveying our land, swaying a little with the winds of time, snapping up the excess carbon, and sending out wise words with your ruach.



  2. Jane says:

    Carl, I’m so happy to hear of this Rx for your heart and I am so grateful for your blog. You are my go-to in my head and I can always relate, identify and agree with your words and point of view. Looking forward to many more.
    Love, Jane

  3. Noel Levan says:

    Hi Carl,
    Given the number of individuals who may be helped by this new drug, its price seems worse than outrageous greed, however we know the price will have to be lessened for the drug to be accessible. I’ll hope that it happens in the immediate future. I’m sure that all-in-all you’re doing much more than “punching your time card”. I’ll imagine that you’ll be doing that for as long as you like. I’ll turn 70 in a few months. I’m considering entering middle age but I’m not convinced it’s an essential to my being. This (for me) issue of having to exercise, is seemingly the bane of my existence, however I also know (grudgingly) that it’ll be the blessing to which I owe my ongoing vitality and engagement. As always, I wish you well.
    Care fully,
    Noel Levan
    Harrisonburg VA

  4. Tom Evans says:

    Hello Carl

    I love the metaphor you use about getting the pink slip, but staying at the job ..of life. Over the past many years you have been a person who has inspired so many many people…. here in MN and elsewhere.
    And you are continuing to do so. When you came to MN, I found my way to many of the MN Hospital Association events. Whenever you put out a book I bought it…. and still have them. When you started putting out blogs, I signed up.

    Keep up your positive attitude. And may the drug work for you for a long long time to come.

    Looking forward to more blogs….

    Take Care..

    Tom Evans

  5. Ruth Daby says:

    Blessings your way!

  6. Annie Morrison says:

    I love how gracefully you walk this journey. Thank you.

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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.