Cam Taylor

Be inspired. Be focused. Be tenacious.

Five Life Lessons in Response to Saying Goodbye

I said good bye to my surgeon this week. The good bye brought a mix of emotions — sadness, gratitude, relief, and peace.

Dr Viskontas has been my surgeon since September, 2011. He operated seven times (7 out of 10) with the last surgery performed three weeks ago to remove hardware from my shoulder. He was brought in as a lower body reconstruction specialist with the skills and know how to tackle the damage being done by robinsoniella peoriensis (a bacteria normally found in manure pits but alive and well in my leg).

I credit Dr V. with saving my leg and performing with skill and art his craft. At times, he would go in to surgery not sure what he would find or do “exactly.” At times, back on the ward while recovering, my new hardware became an opportunity for show and tell for nurses who “had never seen this before.”

As we parted ways, my surgeon commended me for how well I’d done compared to so many others. I took what he said as referring to the hard work, attitude, and persevering spirit I’ve brought to this process which no doubt had helped me get the place I now am at. I was humbled by his comments and very grateful for our partnership.

5 Life Lessons Worth Adopting (reflections as another chapter ends)

1. You eat an elephant one bite at a time.

It’s true that I tackled each challenge, each surgery, each new stage of the four years of repair and recovery, one bite at a time. I learned to live in the present and cycle up one hill at a time.

It’s only now that I look back and see how incredibly far I’ve come — and how big the elephant was!

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. — St Francis of Assisi

2. If you believe you will rise above your challenge — it helps keep you going.

At times my belief faded for sure but deep down, I always believed I’d get through this. I didn’t know what my new normal would be like, but I choose to keep a hopeful attitude that the future would be bright. From this vantage point I now see the reward of that belief.

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it. — Maya Angelou

3. Realizing things could have been far worse, produces gratitude not entitlement.

I do not feel like I deserve the care and attention I received but I do feel grateful I received it. I could have lost my leg, had greater complications, not been as fortunate as I was — but my response is, “Thank you God and thank you to all those who did their job so well.” Many are not as fortunate as I am. I don’t say “too bad for them” but “But for the grace and mercy of God go I.”

4. My response to what happened has been more important than what happened.

I’ve seen others fair poorly in their time of adversity because of their response, not because of what happened. Those with prolonged bitterness, anger, depression, hopelessness. I do acknowledge that the response in me to my circumstances has contributed to the depth and width of my recovery.

5. You need to know when it’s time to move on.

As I drove home from the doctors clinic with 15 fewer staples in my arm, it struck me that a chapter has ended. I can’t use the excuse of “But I have another surgery.” It’s time to focus on where I’m going, not where I’ve been or what else needs to be repaired so I can move forward. Now the goal is to build something on the lot I now own. To encourage others with my story but not use the events of my life and what I’ve been through as an excuse for why I can’t do this or that.

Who I am is not what I’ve been through. It has impacted me but what’s really important is to live every day on purpose and for others. I’m excited to see what’s next!

What’s your story of recovery?
What have you learned?

About Cam Taylor

Life and leadership coach, transition & change specialist, husband, dad, leader, writer, life long learner.

5 Replies

  1. Rob

    Is it moving on or moving forward?

    Great to hear.

  2. YAY CAM!!!!!! Rejoicing with you in not only God’s faithfulness to see you through, but in your faithfulness to keep in the faith while He did! Keep on keeping on!

  3. Gerry Kraft

    God has some wonderful things for you in the future as long as you do not forget His faithfulness. Recovery builds character.

  4. Great lessons on your journey Cam. The ability to have patience to take one step at a time is huge. We never know how things will unfold but we can take an active part with our intention.

  5. Bonnie J Hallett

    As a Nurse, I would say, ” This book should be in the hands of facilities like Wascana Rehab Center in Regina. Hundreds or people on this journey could benefit from this first-hand account.”

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