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I hate going to the doctor. The last time I went (just over a week ago) my pulse was at 125. My doctor jokes that I am running a marathon in his office. It is so stressful to me to be anywhere close to a doctor’s office.

Today I have to get my blood work done. Everyone on anti-psychotics needs regular blood work. The chances of getting high cholesterol, diabetes, and other ailments are greatly increased by the drugs.

I have to get other tests too. I have been having a problem in another area of my body for several months now and I have been on two rounds of anti-biotics and I don’t know if it is cleared up yet. Of course, me, being me, I think I am dying.

I have thought I must be dying for several months now. I have obsessed over how I want to behave if I am dying and the things I want to do in the time I have left.

It is absurd to always jump to the worst case scenario, but I do have a mental illness so bizarre and other types of thinking often go hand in hand with my diagnosis. Mental illness or not, I can’t possibly be the only person who fears the worst.

So, for the last few months I have been thinking about my mortality. I really want to live until my husband retires so I can spend long days with him traveling across the country again. That is my dream. To live long enough to spend 5-10 years in retirement with my husband – where our days are free and we can take any road that looks interesting.

After the shootings in Oregon the other day, I realize that I have nothing to be angry about even if I do have a terminal illness. Complaining about the life I have had would be ridiculous when so many people go to work, go to school, go to a movie and never make it home again. No chance to prepare. No chance for doctors to try and cure or prolong their lives. No chance for Mother Nature to take her course. No time for planning. No time for good-byes.

I nearly died twice in 1997. I was saved by two strangers on two separate occasions. I honestly feel that every day I have lived past that time has been a blessing and a bonus – a true gift from God. I have had almost twenty years of happiness with the love of my life. A love I didn’t know was possible all those years ago. I have walked hand in hand with my favorite person in the world, in Paris, in Abu Dhabi, in New York, in Los Angeles, and lived six months in a van with him crossing the country.

Schizophrenia or no schizophrenia I was given a second chance and these added years have been the very best of my life.

I always need to prepare myself for the worst when I have something wrong with me, and whenever I think of the possibility, I eventually come back to thankfulness and gratitude.

I am ready for all my tests tomorrow – come what may. As usual I will crack a joke to the person taking my blood, and smile, and be chatty in order to overcome my nervousness. S/he won’t know the whole process I have had to go through to in order to give samples of my blood and urine.

Only I know the full impact these things have on my life. A life, I’m thankful to still be living, and when my time comes I hope to still feel the power of thanksgiving for every day and every week, and every month, and every year I survived those suicide attempts. So many people never get that second chance and I have had so many.

Off to the lab. By mid-week I should know how I am doing. There is probably nothing going on that some medicine can’t fix. Either way, I have prepared for the worst and I’m better for it. Somehow the whole process brings the beauty and sacredness of life into focus.