I have the pleasure of treating an incredible patient who happens to have lung cancer. True shit luck. Never smoked, only 40, and has been kicking the cancer’s butt. It is a rare form that, as of right now, has no complete cure.

We had a talk during the last visit where I mentioned to him that it doesn’t matter if you beat the cancer. Sometimes you just have to learn to live with it. Heck, one of my  mentors when I moved to Plymouth has had liver cancer for 25 years. This patient’s response was “my goal is to live with it at least 30 more years.”

Bring it on!

This is the difference between finite thinking and infinite thinking. Life is a battle of attrition-your health sure is. If you play the game to be perfect, you aren’t going to play very long. Beating everything that is in front of you, win the battle but lose the war, that is the finite game.

He unwittingly has chosen a better strategy with his ailment: don’t worry about beating it, just make sure he can live with it. This way of thinking buys time for future treatments. Spending energy on living vs not dying. That is the infinite game.

Remember you attract what you put your mind to.

Sometimes embracing your ailments actually softens their grip on you. If you resist, they persist, type of thinking. Ken Clubber, the originator of the Leadville One Hundred running race said, “make friends with pain and you will never be alone.” A bit extreme but I get it. Understanding that pain is just the body’s non verbal communication lets you keep closer tabs on your body.

I ignored some signs of an impending sciatic episode a few years ago and it put me in extreme pain for three weeks. It knocked the heck out of me. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed some similarities brewing and WHAM! I hit it with everything I have early and often. I listened to the communication of my body which speaks through symptoms.

  • High cholesterol
  • High sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • Pain
  • Fatigue

These are all symptoms, not diseases! They are clues that the body is not in optimal function and an attempt to beg you to change your ways. Yes, we have gotten good at fixing the numbers but not the source of the problem. That is the finite game of fixing the number but losing the game.

So, play the infinite game and give the body some time because it rarely disappoints. Better to aim big and fall a little short than aim small and slightly overachieve. Reach out for those 30 extra years. Go for quality and you will undoubtedly get quantity.

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