Not Giving In or Giving Up

by Robin Bush, ISR Communications

B.J. Miller, MD, a palliative care physician at the University of California, San Francisco, Cancer Center, had his lower legs and part of one arm amputated after an accident when he was a college sophomore. Today, he is pleased with his prosthetic limbs, “I have carbon fiber feet, and they are beautiful. I became fascinated with the idea of working with what we have and celebrating the difference.”  He’s learned a great deal from his experience that he shares to guide and inspire others.

Working with what we have is one of the keys to accepting aging with grace and gratitude. He believes that accepting physical decline or other consequences of aging is about not giving in or giving up. Instead, it’s about how we think about aging. The first key thought, he believes, is recognizing what you can and cannot control and letting go of what you cannot control. “You’re not completely powerless, but don’t pretend you can control everything,” he says. The second is finding your strength. “We are living human flesh that can be hurt, but we still go on. That’s our strength.”  The third is welcoming change. “We are creating and re-creating ourselves all the time. We are always changing.” And lastly, is seeking and discovering your resilience. “Think of all the things you’ve lost…You’ve had losses and dealt with them and regrouped a million times.” You can do this. You know how.

Take a long look at yourself – not in the mirror, just in your head and ask, “What have I got? That’s what I have to work with, so what can I do today with what I’ve got?”  Let BJ’s words ring over and over in your mind. 1. Let go of control, 2. Find your strength, 3. Welcome change, 4. Seek your resilience.

Note:  to protect medical privacy, this image is an example of one type of prosthetic limbs, it is not an image of Dr. Miller’s carbon fiber feet.

research from:  The Power of Accepting Aging (