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Enjoy Every Sandwich: Living Each Day As If It Were Your Last by Lee Lipsenthal, M.D. - Gratitude

January 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 131

Are you comfortable discussing your own mortality? Are you interested in exploring the journey of one man facing his own death from cancer? If you answered yes to these questions, you're destined to read, Enjoy Every Sandwich: Live Each Day As If It Were Your Last.

In July 2009, well-known, California-based physician, Lee Lipsenthal, found himself on the other side of the table; diagnosed with cancer of the lower esophagus. He knew it was an aggressive disease with a dismal prognosis.

Enjoy Every Sandwich is Lipsenthal's chronicle of his cancer passage. The title was inspired by singer/songwriter Warren Zevon who died in 2003 of lung cancer. Appearing on late night television, Zevon revealed how he'd learn to enjoy every sandwich he ate. Ironically, Lipsenthal's cancer was detected after experiencing pain while eating a sandwich.

Once diagnosed, his wife and colleagues encouraged him to fight the disease. Lipsenthal declared that he planned to approach his cancer on his terms: "I had no desire or will to fight cancer. I just wanted to be with cancer."

Books titles like Anticancer and A Cancer Battle Plan and today's healthcare system, perpetuate the belief that cancer is something to attack. Lipsenthal disagrees: "Can you imagine a health care system in which the main goal is to enhance peace, vitality, and the joy of living, a system that views dying as a natural process instead of something to be feared and avoided?"

Neuroimaginal is a word Lipsenthal and two of his colleagues coined. It describes the world we create in our minds and the one we convince ourselves is true. Being aware of this concept helped him experience his cancer journey.

Lipsenthal chose to make meditation a key component of his cancer treatment. He began the practice during his medical residency. He also incorporated Native American healing rituals, including the Shamanic Breathwork Process. If you have no experience with these alternative medical practices, don't let it preclude you from reading Lipsenthal's, narrative.

We've all heard the sentiments that, near death, we won't be wishing we'd done one more work project. Lipsenthal echoes those beliefs. He realized that his hard-earned work life was probably over as he knew it, at least during his chemotherapy and perhaps, forever: "The moment I was able to accept that my life's work might die, I had an unexpected and surprising sense of freedom."

Lipsenthal advocates the importance of practicing gratitude daily: "When we practice gratitude each day, life becomes sweet regardless of our life circumstances." He suggests keeping a pad or journal at your bedside. Each night write down three things that you are grateful for that happened that day. You'll begin to look for things that are right in the world instead of wrong. After about three weeks you'll have remodeled your brain to be grateful, even optimistic.

Lee Lipsenthal died on September 20, 2011. Read Enjoy Every Sandwich, and at book's end, his obituary is heartfelt. Lipsenthal's cancer journey reminds us that life's inconveniences like traffic jams and cancelled or delayed flights are inconsequential.

Lee Lipsenthal reminds us to practice daily gratitude. To find ways to express gratitude, check out 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik:

Timothy Zaun is a blogger, speaker and freelance writer. Visit him online at

Source: EzineArticles
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