This I Believe

Chester - New Orleans, Louisiana
Entered on July 28, 2006
Age Group: 65+

istory, these books described the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety and depression. My belief about adversity was strenghtened by my patients.

Once again adversity reared its ugly head! I developed kidney failure. Good fortune always seems to accompany my travails. My sister offered to donate one of her kidneys. That was 14 years ago. Today, just thinking about my sister’s gift brings tears to my eyes.

With my dismal medical history, one might think that adveristy had disabled me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though in my 70s, I treat patients, teach a weekly seminar for psychiatric residents, and have just produced and narrated a two hour history of the medical scI believe a person’s ability to cope with adversity is limitless. This belief, really a conviction, stems from my personal experiences dealing with blindness, a pancreatic tumor, several surgical procedures, diabetes, hypertension, renal failure, and a kidney transplant.

My visual problems began while I was in the Army. Hospitalization resulted in improvement of my vision and the decision to become a doctor. I was overjoyed with my acceptance into medical school.

In my junior year, my vision again began to fail. I was in and out of the hospital; however, I graduated from medical school with honors receiving an MS and MD degrees. It was the happiest and saddest day of my life. Happy because I had fulfilled my dream of becoming a dcotor. Sad because my vision was so poor that I was unable to read and my future was uncertain.

My spirits rose when I was accepted for a psychiatric residency. Adjusting myself to the role as a resident proved difficult. With the help of my girlfriend, (who later became my wife), I was able to keep up with the psychiatric literature. After my residency, I was offered a position as an instructor at the medical school.

My opthalmologist raised my hopes when he suggested surgery might improve my vision. My vision after surgery was somewhat better; however, I still could not read text. Unfortunately, afterwards I had a retinal detachment. I assumed the duties as Director of Social Psychiatry with a staff of 35 professionals. I planned and directed programs in law and psychiatry, drug addiction, and juvenile delinquency prevention. I was appointed Chairman of the Narcotics Rehabilitation Commission by the Governor and the Mayor designated me as Chairman of the City’s Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Committee.

My demons struck again! A pancreatic tumor was diagnosed and the surgeon, suspecting cancer, gave me a dire prognosis; however, the tumor proved to be benign though I did develop post-surgical diabetes and hypertension. Over the course of the next several years, I wrote three books: Stress Strategies, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and From Panic to Peace of Mind. Drawn from my clinical experience with patients but colored by my personal hhool’s department of psychiatry. I exercise and listen to best sellars on my MP3 on a daily basis.

To sucessfully cope with adversity requires one’s personal resourcefulness, a belief in self, perseverence, and help from caring people.