Fighting cancer is a daily endeavor –physically, emotionally and spiritually – and I’m constantly reminded of my enduring health responsibilities by my loving wife, Teresa, who tends to the upcoming medical appointments: either with my oncologist, primary care doctor, or the dermatologist. I don’t mind seeing the former two, but when it comes to seeing the dermatologist, I would stubbornly think, “enough is enough...I am tired of medical appointments, especially with the dermatologist.” Then my wife, in a gentle tone, reminds me that her only desire is to have a healthy husband to enjoy life with for many years to come. And as it turns out my wife has quite plausibly saved my life, yet again. After a biopsy of five irregular markings on my back, the surgeon recommended the extraction of all. It turned out that four of them were starting to evolve possibly into melanoma. Staying true to form, my wife has profited again by her constant watchfulness over my health. And I for one, am blessed to have her in my life, even though I have 12 stitches in my back right now.
Similarly, for several years of his turbulent life, in which he was dogged by ill health, exile and political danger, Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 BC - AD 65) was not only the guiding hand of the Roman Empire, but a devoted, loving husband to his wife, Paulina. He adored his wife, Paulina, with unrelenting love and commitment. When it came to his health, his wife “forever urging [him] to take care of [his] health” and indeed as [he] came to realize the way her very being depends on his, he began, in his concern for her, to feel some concern for [himself].
Seneca confessed, “The consequence is that since I haven't managed to get her to put a little more bravery into her love for me, she has managed to induce me to show a little more love and care for myself.”
In his writings on this topic of maintaining health Seneca postulates that "a man who does not value his wife or a friend highly enough to stay on a little longer in life, who persists in dying in spite of them, is a thoroughly self-indulgent character."
William M. Thayer, author of “Gaining Favor With God and Man” (1893) claimed that it is more important to know how to have and keep a sound body than how to get riches and keep them.
In times when we, as mankind, face health challenges that may impact our physical, emotional, relational and spiritual standing, we must make good of our individual responsibilities to live a long life; if not for ourselves, but more importantly for our loved ones.
This is our true calling….
To fight the good fight to the end.