By Brian De Francesca
18 years ago today, my mother died. If that was the end of her journey – I do not know. I was not with her. I was on my way to Stockholm where Casper was due to arrive on the scene; that had its own challenges and learning experiences – a story for another time. I know that I was a good son, but still feel I could have been better.
My mother died, I will die, my children will one day die. Until of course, we find a cure for death, which will eventually happen. I am not sure that is a good thing – but it will not be my decision to make. But for now, our physical time here is very temporary and fleeting. Each moment, more valuable than the one before – because there are fewer remaining. As tribute to my mother, today will be special
I started with breakfast with my good friend and a wonderful human. I will cut my daily dosage of medications in half, as part of a tapering target of being totally free of them by October 30th. For those of you who don’t know, I have been on a cocktail of anti-anxiety medications for almost two years, since my world blew up. I have been on maximum dosages of: 20mg of Cipralex (escitalopram), 50mg of Anafranil (clomipramine), 100mg of Seroquel (Quetiapin) and 2mg per day of Xanex. This has allowed me to function in society, but has limited me to being somewhat of an emotionless Zombie – but without these, I would have been disabled by panic and anxiety. So, medications at times are the proper weapon – taking them is not a sign of weakness – they are a tool to serve a purpose. I know that I am strong enough now, to finally toss away this temporary chemical crutch, which I know will make my mother happy.
I am starting to feel that most people live and then die, having never known true peace; I feel this way, because I am learning that my path to peace requires true forgiveness of everyone; surrender to the universe (which is hard to explain in this short space) and complete transparency – which is a step or two beyond being just “honest.” I am just at the beginning of the journey. I have learned that so many of the people around you, have some sort of horror they keep caged inside. This may be the cause of one person being an asshole; and another being so shy – most of the time, we never get to see inside. My mom is a star now; occasionally she visits us as a butterfly – she is proud of me, I know this. When I was very young and attending Catholic church, there was always a section in the mass, where you were to turn to the people around you and say, “May peace be with you.” We all robotically went through the motions and parroted the words.
Now, all these years later; I can say, this and truly know what I mean:
May peace be with you.
Written by, Brian de Francesca.com, @B_defrancesca
“The Meaning of Brian De Francesca’s life-his purpose for being -is to use digitalization and connectivity to help as many people as possible before he dies”
Dr Alya … Welcome to this Site
It’s been a long time coming, but here it is, my own website, blog site, and more. The Stories told here are real. It is a collection of narratives of medicine. We physicians only see and understand part of the story, there is so much more we need to know, feel, and gather, and even that is not enough. Narrative medicine teaches us that the stories of patients, their lives intertwined with illness, recovery, and the unsurmountable is a reflection of who we are as a society. With the filter of electronic record, meaningful use, checklists, order sets, and algorithm- based data science takes us a measure away from actually bearing witness to what really heals patients. Knowing who our patients are, their lives, their struggles, limitations, and strengths is also vital to care.
Thus, I write in order to convey some small part of that narrative. I or my interpretation of my experience in medicine may not be all, but I hope it begins the conversation of how we as healers can look beyond the filters.