In the course of 2022, I fell ill with a rare lung disease called CTEPH, and in the course of numerous diagnoses and examinations, it turned out that the best way to cure it is open lung surgery, anything else would have resulted in: taking medication without the disease disappearing, while being unable to work.
Because the course of the surgery is: open the chest, take blood circulation from the heart and send it through a heart-lung machine, shut down the heart, cool the body down to 20 degrees, then shut down the heart-lung machine as well, so that the surgeons can operate without blood flow and consequent obstruction of vision in the lungs. Time during clinical death: 2x 30 minutes! During this time, pieces of tissue must be peeled out with high precision and speed without damaging the lungs.
These prospects made me fall into the bottomless pit for the time being.
But option 2 with early retirement was out of the question for me, and so I had to deal with this operation.
As long as it was still far ahead of me, the subject was abstract, but the closer the date came, the more it drove me crazy, and the fear grew and grew.
For about 13 years as a student of WCTAG teacher Sasa, I knew of her qualities, far beyond practicing Taiji. From Sasa I hoped for the mental and emotional support I needed in this situation.
10 days before the surgery, we started "practice": Sasa meditated with me, gave me homework in the form of Buddhist texts, books and guided Taiji and ZEN meditations, and of course we practiced the Taiji forms together again and again.
At the clinic in Homburg, I had the weekend before the surgery was scheduled for Monday to get used to the place and finally prepare for the special day. I asked Sasa, although we had finished our joint practice for the time being, to remain "on standby" for me, which she made possible without hesitation.
This entire preparation time was so intensive and helpful that I finally went into this surgery almost free of fear, still in the morning in the anesthesia room I joked with the nurses about the anesthesia machine not working.
In parallel, I had the very best and most loving support from my wife Barbara, and after asking for mental support from my friends and acquaintances via social media, I had so much positive feedback and support that I realized: if you deal openly with the disease, you can be supported by friends and relatives in an infinitely powerful way.
The surgery was successful, yet Sasa still cared for me afterwards, always checking in to see how I was doing. Friends and relatives are also still present and caring.
In the meantime I am back in normal training, I notice how I feel better every day and when I see Sasa in training, this intense time is still very present.
Dealing openly with serious illnesses usually entails comforting care.
Through Sasa's care I felt completely carried. I can only advise everyone in such a situation to consider our Taiji and Sasa's work as a gift, as a good help for situations that make us almost despair.
In deep gratitude