Wednesday, November 15, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0357 - Feeling Secure

Security has been on my mind recently. The last breakout session of the business conference that I attended last week in Las Vegas was all about the security features of our ERP software where I work for a living. Then, the very next morning, as I connected remotely to our business network, I discovered a security breach, the upshot of which has been the focus of this week's work and discussions. Finally, with only two weeks left until I have my next colonoscopy, I'm reflecting on what security means to me in regards to my unwanted journey.

Security is partially a feeling of having a future, mainly one that is unclouded by doubt and despair. When one is diagnosed with cancer, the clouds appear on the horizon immediately. Often, those clouds become thunderheads, maybe even twisters, in the imagination. That, of course, means doubt, lots and lots of doubt, about the future.

In the real world, cancer patients and survivors often tie their feelings of security to medical test results, sometimes to bodily sensations. Although, in the latter case, I find it difficult to trust my bodily sensations since they didn't tell me anything about having cancer in the first place. Medical test results, on the other hand, seem to have some scientific merit and reflect a reality which bodily sensations cannot match. What are my blood counts? What do the MRI and CT images show? What is that spot in the X-ray? Were there any polyps you discovered during the colonoscopy? How does the anastomosis look? What does the scar tissue in the colon and rectum look like now eight months later?

As we close in on Christmas, I'll be thinking a lot about this time last year when I was undergoing a barrage of medical tests and imaging. Unlike the festive lights of the seasons, my future didn't look bright at all. This year, I suspect that I'll be much more optimistic about my future - in other words, more secure.

But security is truly an illusion. Last night, my wife and youngest son and I had a brief discussion about the inevitability of tragedy in our lives. We normally don't live with the fear of something tragic about to happen, but it does happen nonetheless, whether it be the death of a loved one, the loss of a friend or job, the onset of a life-threatening disease, an accident, or a host of other possibilities. Our security is really just a sense that the overall balance in life will be good...and that part of the feeling of security is true and accurate. Life is good. It is often beautiful. And it is a treasure we should all value, as consciously as possible.

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