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2006: Issue 5

No Matter What

“To a large extent, the key to fearlessness is the “no matter what.” Keep that in mind. It’s truly amazing what we can do by allowing the spirit and mind to flourish. Our capabilities go way beyond our understanding. Trust in that and go forward.” 
– Christopher Reeve

The news of Dana Reeve’s death saddened me.  No, I didn’t know her, except through the media.  Yet, I held her in high regard – a woman of great passion, grace, dignity, talent, courage, and tenacity.  A caregiver.  A partner.  A leader.  A crusader.  A pioneer.  An advocate.  Not shunning the limelight, but seemingly only wanting it if it was for the greater good of the whole.  She made our country a better place.  As did her husband. 

In Issue 22 of Tiberius Rx…Simply Courage,  I referenced an essay that was published shortly after Christopher Reeve’s death in Ode magazine, issue 22.  It is one of my favorite and most frequently referenced writings for its humbling, awing and inspiring content. Demonstrations of courage in the powerful and mundane, and reminders of the power of its close cousin, fear, which so often overshadows, and truly paralyzes us.   

A slightly different spin on living with courage is living fearlessly.  The first line of Reeve’s essay is “I live a fearless life on a daily basis.” To do so, he not only had to face his prior fear of loosing control, but also the fear imposed on by others, including his physicians, who essentially gave him no hope of further recovery.  Reeve doesn’t romanticize it; instead says we simply decided “we weren’t going to accept their absolutes” and they moved forward – through all of their own doubts; their feelings of sadness and hopelessness; wondering if it was worth it, did it matter; yet they went on – no matter what.

No matter that as the pioneer for treadmill walking therapy he experienced a fracture to his femur, a result of undiagnosed osteoporosis.   Result – a new standard: do a bone density scan before putting compromised patients on the treadmill.  Result for him – no more treadmill.    No matter that as the first recipient of a diaphragm “pacemaker” he suffered severe infections and complications as his body rejected the devise. 

Yet, he says, “… it is important to know that living a fearless life means that you might go through an experience that doesn’t actually work out for you. The way to stay positive, to avoid being bitter or feeling like a failure, is to look at the fact it might help somebody else.”  And it did, for those who followed him have been able to come off the ventilator. 

Reeve’s actions were aligned with his words, repeatedly. If he was pushing scientists to keep trying, physicians to keep believing, he had to too. And that he did.  Ironically, it was the last chapter of his life that truly showed us what a super man he was. And his wife showed us a real life version of super woman.  

Observation:
The evolutions and revolutions in our healthcare industry have led many of us to allow fear to take over as our modus operandi.  Wondering who’s going to get us next, and believing it’s just a matter of time.  The risks to your health and the health of your patients are great. 

Assessment:
Thankfully, there are those who show us how to truly embrace living life, fearlessly.   Who, no matter what, keep finding a way to make life better – for all of us.  Follow them.  Learn from them.  Embrace their teachings. 

Prescription:

  1. Read Christopher’s essay – email me, janet@4extraordinaryliving.com, and I will send it to you. 
  2. Identify in it the words that speak to you, and let them take hold.
  3. Commit to embracing fearless living now, rather than waiting for some “big event” to force you into it.  
  4. Challenge your thinking.  Shift your mental frame of reference, allowing your mind and spirit to flourish.  


David Scheiderer, MD, MBA
Executive Coach


Janet Crawford, MHA, MBA
Executive Coach



Tiberius Rx ... written for physicians and those who love them, work with them, or befriend them, and want to explore, experience and excel in all aspects of their life.

"Now, more than ever, I feel Chris with me as I face this challenge. As always, I look to him as the ultimate example of defying the odds with strength, courage and hope in the face of life's adversities."
– Dana Reeve

"I wanted to embrace rather than fear my situation, even though I hated it. Sometimes you have to embrace things you hate."
–  Christopher Reeve