The Things We Take For Granted, We Can Sometimes Lose

By | December 2, 2022 7:43 pm

After being diagnosed with a bone tumour in his left leg, Albert Espinosa, now an engineer and a popular spanish screenplay writer, then a 14-year-old boy from Barcelona, battled a 3 per cent survival chance with positivity and black humour. A decade in hospital, 83 chemotherapy sessions, and bartering his left leg, lung and a chunk of his liver — all attacked by cancer — left him equipped to write a survival memoir that’s more about life, less about cancer.


Being around the Eggheads (fellow bald teenagers) and hospital staff including a “radiologist with small ears and huge eyebrows” who taught him how to conquer anger, left him with wisdom enough to write The Yellow World (just launched English translation of bestseller El Mundo Amarillo), the book everyone’s talking about.

LOSSES ARE POSITIVE:  We have to learn how to lose things… Cancer took a lot away from me: a lung, a chunk of my liver, mobility, experiences, years of school… But what I felt most of all was probably the loss of my leg. I remember that, the day before they cut it off, my doctor said to me: ‘Give your leg a goodbye party…’ The people I invited to this strange party were those who had had some kind of relationship with my leg: a goalkeeper who let in forty-five goals from me in one match…, a girl I played footsie with under the table, one of my uncles, who took me hiking… Everyone was a bit shy at the beginning, but we started bit by bit to talk about the leg. Everyone told stories about it. They touched it one last time. It was a night I’ll never forget. When the night came to an end and dawn was breaking, a few hours before I went into surgery, I suddenly thought of the best possible finishing touch: one last dance. I asked a nurse to dance with me and she said yes. We played Wait for Me in Heaven.

I need to talk with you again,Why did you go away? 
All our time together still feels like yesterday…

I never thought I’d see A single day without you,
The things we take for granted, We can sometimes lose..
There was no more suitable song for this moment, for the last moment… The next day they cut my leg off. But I wasn’t sad; …I’d said goodbye to it, I’d cried, I’d laughed. Without realising, I’d had my mourning period… We suffer losses every day: sometimes important ones that upset us; sometimes smaller ones that only worry us. It’s not like losing a leg, but the technique for getting over them is the same as I learned in hospital… Look for what you can gain from the loss (take your time). In a few days, you’ll feel better. You’ll see what you’ve gained.
KEEP A LIFE RECORD:  My medical record is endless; it grew fatter day by day, month by month, year by year. The last time I went to the hospital, they brought it on a trolley; it was so big that they couldn’t carry it… The last day that I saw my file was in the oncologist’s office; he wrote: ‘The patient is cured.’ Underneath it, I remember perfectly, he drew a horizontal line. The line impressed me greatly. He closed the file, put it back on the trolley and the porter took it away… But when I returned to normal life, I thought it would be a good idea to have a one (file); not a medical history but a life history
Do you know why people have medical histories? Simply to note down and be sure about when a crisis occurred, how it was overcome, when the next setback occurred… I’m sure I managed to avoid a lot of X-rays, blood tests and duplicate prescriptions. Memory is so selective…
The good thing about writing these things down is that it shows you how life is cyclical: everything comes back and keeps coming back. The problem is that our memory is very small and very forgetful. You’ll be fascinated to see how your high points and low points repeat themselves, and your life history will have a solution for everything in your life… All you need to do is write for a few minutes each day and gather together objects and things that are comparable to X-rays.
If you are lucky, one day you’ll die and your children, your friends,.. will inherit this life history and will know what it was that made you happy, what made you feel complete…
HIBERNATE FOR 20 MINS: ‘Don’t move. Breathe, don’t breathe’ is what you hear most often when they give you an X-ray or a CAT scan. They need you not to move above all; you have to stay very still so that everything shows up in the right place
Without knowing it, every time they gave me an X-ray I came into contact with my inner self. It was looking for something and finding it: self examination, a strange yoga that made me feel better… And so, after I was cured, I carried on using this method…
I lie down on my bed. I shut all the doors, turn off my mobile and stay still, very still. I repeat in my mind the number one phrase from the hit parade: ‘Don’t move. Breathe, don’t breathe.’ I do this for 20 minutes. I forbid myself from doing anything that isn’t thinking about not moving or rationing the air I breathe. And, magically, when you finish this period of not doing anything, you can solve problems that had become rusted shut, find feelings that you had thought lost forever and believe (of course, you have to check it later) that you have the solution for everything… Everything in this world would be a great deal better if we just stayed still for a while, stayed very still.
FIND THE POINT OF NO RETURN: Sometimes in hospital we cursed our fate, sometimes we got angry about it. A doctor (a radiologist who sometimes told us jokes when he was on duty) taught us how to control our moments of anger, to be capable of knowing our limits. He spoke to us about the ‘point of no return’.
Once you’ve passed this point, you can’t avoid getting angry… I notice that I’m annoyed by what the other person is saying. I start to notice that my anger is getting stronger. I’ve started to raise my voice; I notice that my anger is getting control of me. I start to lose control. I reach the point of no return.
If there are three stages before you get to this point, then you will see that just before you lose control and get angry, the possibility of stopping exists… As you get older your point of no return changes position. As the years go by and we get more experienced we get angry less often and our point of no return is further away.
SHUT YOUR EYES: I’ve always thought that the great problems in our society come from the fact that people don’t know whether or not they love the person they are with. This gives us a lot of headaches, lots of worries. Do I love the person I’m with or don’t I? Are they the right person? Is there another person whom I like more?
Lots of times when we had problems, we went to see the special people (mentally challenged). There would always be a huge number of details that had nothing to do with the decision we had to take, and they knew how to detect these. They knew how to filter the details that were necessary for making the correct decision. They always advised us to shut our eyes… closing your eyes eliminates one of your senses, the sense that distracts you most, that brings in the most information… and the most incredible thing is that you see everything so clearly.

-Bangalore Mirror Bureau- Extracted with permission from The Yellow World by Albert Espinosa, translated by James Womack, published by the Penguin Group.
(Traders could learn almost everything that is basically essential in their everyday affairs from Albert Espinosa’s experience).

Category: Motivational Stories

About Bramesh

Bramesh Bhandari has been actively trading the Indian Stock Markets since over 15+ Years. His primary strategies are his interpretations and applications of Gann And Astro Methodologies developed over the past decade.

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