I just finished reading Dr. Lee Lipsenthal's book, "Enjoy Every Sandwich." Wow - what a book. The author wrote this book to share his experiences and new-found perspective after he was diagnosed with esophogeal cancer in 2009, and it is a very powerful and touching book.
Lipsenthal takes you through some very touching realizations of the precious nature of our time here on earth, and provides guidance on how we can take better care of the relationships and truly important parts of our lives - whether we know we're near death or not.
For me, the most "connecting" parts of the book were when the author takes us through the journey of accepting the inevitability of death. It was interesting to read how he dealt with his mortality, but even more interesting to learn how he took his family through the journey. Dr. Lipsenthal's wife was truly his soul mate, and I recognized the relationship I have with my wife in this book.
Appreciate what you have
As some of you who've been with me since I've been blogging know, I had my own bout with cancer (I wrote a little about my experience here). This was a very sobering experience, and it brought my wife and I closer. Luckily, I made it through - I've been cancer-free for almost 13 years. But I know the feeling of helplessness very well.
What I love about Dr. Lipsenthal's book and the journey he shares with us is that he's managed to translate his cancer journey into a set of concrete recommendations for all of us - and does it in a very inspiring way. In this book, you'll appreciate the opportunities we have to share ourselves now with the ones we love.
Learn from the journey of others
If you find yourself in the midst of your own struggle with cancer, this book will help you, as well. Not only will you gain some wisdom and ideas for how to make the most of your relationships during your struggle, you'll also find strength in the way Dr. Lipsenthal dealt with his cancer. As a medical Doctor, I found his thoughts to be very powerful - both in what you can do for yourself, and what you can't.
I love this paragraph from the book:
"You get to choose the world you want to live in. It can be a house of fear and constriction or a house of mystery and creativity. Do you choose honor and compassion about your frailties and the frailties of others? In your world, will it be the fear of death, or the joy of life? It is that simple."
This framing of your options, beliefs, and realities is your choice. And Dr. Lipsenthal's reminder that we can all decide is very empowering.
You may be wondering how Dr. Lipsenthal fared in all of this. Well, he lost his fight with cancer in Septemer 2011. But in this book, I think he took full advantage of his "knowing" time to make sure the important people in his life felt his love for them.
This book is both sad and uplifting; about death and about life. And it is an amazing legacy for Dr. Lipsenthal. I highly recommend "Enjoy Every Sandwich."