The Daily Stoic for September 24th, “It Could Happen To You”.
“Being unexpected adds to the weight of a disaster, and being a surprise has never failed to increase a person’s pain. For that reason, nothing should ever be unexpected by us. Our minds should be sent out in advance to all things and we shouldn’t just consider the normal course of things, but what could actually happen. For is there anything in life that Fortune won’t knock off its high horse if it pleases her?”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 91.3a–4
I didn’t write today’s daily stoic in time. I am writing it one day later, on the 25th. The reason?
As you may know, recently I was seriously ill in the hospital with a severe prostate infection. As we had to come back to Spain because my parents are celebrating their Ruby Wedding, I went to a urologist to make sure everything was ok.
Yesterday, the results came, and they showcased a diagnosis of prostate cancer with an accuracy of 95%.
It Could Happen To You
Needless to say, I broke down. I don’t remember going through a worse day in my whole life.
However, I wasn’t screaming, angry or paralyzed by fear. I don’t know how to explain it, but deep inside, I had this feeling of acceptance. In a way, I think stoicism kicked in. All I’ve been reading, practicing and writing about. All that I’ve been thinking about… somehow, it helped me stay calm.
Obviously, I was not smiling, but even in my despair and sadness, I was in a quiet, calm place.
Today, 25th of September, we spoke to the doctor and he qualified the report, stating that after a severe infection like mine, that cancer diagnosis is most probably a false positive, and that apart from a further analysis sometime in the future, I have probably nothing to worry about. Those words made today a much brighter, positive day than yesterday.
Now, I feel relieved, if still concerned about my health. But I didn’t expect stoicism to appear so strongly in such a dramatic moment the way it did. It’s definitely a landmark for me since I started writing this daily stoic series.
Yesterday’s Daily Stoic, “It Could Happen To You” couldn’t come at a more opportune moment. After receiving devastating news, I realized that even through my concern, sadness and woes… I had a very stoic moment of acceptance. I’m grateful to stoicism for that.