Love Is The Strongest Medicine: Notes from a Cancer Doctor on Connection, Creativity, and Compassion

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I'm leaky.

My mitral valve.

I have a heart murmur.

It's loud.

It's caused by mitral regurgitation.

Mitral regurgitation is leakage of blood backward through the mitral valve.

It happens each time my left ventricle contracts.

When my left ventricle relaxes, it fills up with blood.

The relaxing part is A-OK.

I'm refilling just fine.

But the whole contraction thing is off.


It's like a metaphor for my life.

Relaxing, being open, honest and vulnerable are good for me.

Thoughts, words, and actions unified with integrity.

Contracting and squeezing and being 'always on' equals leak.

Leaky integrity.

My leaking mitral valve allows blood to flow in two directions during my contraction.

I can't flow both ways.

One day, I'll need a repair.

All I can do now is keep on living.

Living with the leak.

Being mindful of any new leaks.

Cleaning up any noticeable leaks in integrity.

Staying open.

Opening my heart.

Staying open to all possibilities.

Open to integrity everywhere.

Stopping the leaks in their tracks.

Restoring integrity.

Because without integrity, nothing works.

Too leaky.