Click to use the Talking Dictionary 91. When You've Got Your Health, You've Got Everything

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Hannah's daddy was a teacher who barely made enough money to raise his six kids. Hannah wore hand-me-downs from her older sisters. For Christmas she usually got used dolls and books. As a child, she yearned to have the beautiful clothes, cars, and homes that she often saw on TV and in magazines.

Several years after she graduated from college, she became part-owner of a successful interior decorating business in Manhattan. Her life became what she had dreamed about as a little girl. A successful business woman, she had a handsome, wealthy fiancÚ. She owned her own co-op near Central Park. She took skiing vacations in the winter and exotic cruises in the summer. At the age of 30, Hannah was on top of the world.

Then she underwent a routine health checkup, and her perfect world crumbled. Her doctor told her that she had pancreatic cancer. Surgery was necessary to determine how much the cancer had spread. Hannah was operated on a week later. The surgeon suspected that cancer had spread to vital organs. Ten days later, the lab confirmed his suspicions.

Hannah's doctor said he could treat her with chemotherapy and painkillers, but it was just a matter of time before the cancer killed her. She asked how much time. He guessed that she had less than a year to live. How can this be, Hannah wondered. Doesn't this always happen to someone else?

A couple of weeks later, she visited another cancer specialist. He examined her and read her medical and lab reports. He said he agreed with her surgeon. "If you have any once-in-a-lifetime plans, do them now," he advised.

Instead, Hannah spent her last months in her co-op, tended to by hospice workers. Her family and friends visited her regularly. The moment before she died, she opened her eyes and tried to say something to her fiancÚ. She squeezed his hand weakly.

"She was in constant pain," her fiancÚ said. "At the end, she could barely whisper. She weighed 80 pounds when she died. I can't believe that God allows things like this to happen to people."


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