Nearly six years ago I was on a gurney awaiting a lung biopsy at our local hospital. What had led me there was a lack of ability to breathe. I was going hypoxic. If I stood up too fast, I would see stars and get very lightheaded, maybe pass out. It had happened a few times. I had a pernicious cough that was only getting worse, and the inhalers that I had were just not working. It was like breathing through a straw, and I was always tired, very tired. I had a tremendous amount of arthritic pain too, and ever-decreasing mobility. Given my symptoms and lung X-rays, I was expecting a diagnosis of lung cancer.
I lay on that hospital gurney for two and a half hours in an empty hallway, apprehensively awaiting my turn. I got lost in my thoughts. I felt a profound sense of loneliness and hopelessness, all the decisions in my life that had brought me to that point laid out before me. I wanted to be anywhere else but that hallway.
I thought if I get out of this scrape, I will change things. It wasn’t pleading to a higher power, rather a profound sense of wanting to get the chance to understand what was transpiring inside my body and how to change it. I was later diagnosed with sarcoidosis along with other things.
In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Savik is commanding the starship Enterprise during the Kobayashi Maru simulation where there is no way to win. When the Enterprise is destroyed by a Klingon torpedo the simulation ends. Admiral Kirk enters the simulation and says to Savik
“How we deal with death is at least as important as to how we deal with life”
Later in the movie as the Enterprise is under threat of imminent destruction, Kirk admits that he does not believe in no-win scenarios, and frankly, neither do I.
Of all the many lessons that we can learn from Star Trek, the most important is to never give up - not ever.
Fast forward six years into the future, way too many pills, inhalers, injections, and infusions later; and to counter, many thousands of hours of research and working with amazing, brilliant people here at Zestt Wellness and at the University of Otago - here we are.
We are developing products to help people survive and thrive in an environment where we are challenged with aging, urban pollution and sometimes poor diets and unhelpful genes.
A couple of years after my diagnosis I was sitting on my deck, early in the crisp morning. I had a near boiling cup of tea in my hands and a blanket wrapped around me. The sky was getting lighter, and the sun was about to come up. I was watching the hues change from dark blues to pinks and yellows, while sipping on my hot tea. It was pure heaven, and it was in that moment that I realised what true happiness was. I was grateful. I was grateful for that hot tea, for that brief but fleeting morning of no pain, and just being alive and present in the moment. Gratitude for where we are, wherever that place happens to be, is the most important lesson we can learn in life. I believe gratitude determines how happy we are and how happy we can be.
When I think back to that day in the hospital hallway, I got the chance to change things. Somehow miraculously, I walked out of my own Kobayashi Maru, feeling like I too got hit amidships by a Klingon torpedo.
It has been an unbelievably hard road, fraught with danger and riddled with pain – but somehow filled with gratitude. This journey is what drives and pushes me to be better tomorrow than I am today, to be relentless in my pursuit of knowledge and my desire to help others change their life – whatever position they are in.
The journeys of my business partners have been different to mine, but we are united in the singular purpose of making people’s lives better and easier. We will never abandon that purpose.
To all of you who are fighting your own Kobayashi Maru, hold on, and never give up. It may be dark but -
“Only in the darkness, can you see the stars.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
As a footnote to Darcy’s blog, there has been a lot of talk about vaccinations on our social media sites. We wanted to let people know, that we understand it is a difficult decision – especially for those who are immunocompromised. We have extensively followed the science available regards the vaccinations and Darcy and Anna (and their respective families) decided to be fully vaccinated – and have now had their second jab.
We recommend New Zealand Government’s covid vaccination information page – or make contact with us at any time, if you would like to discuss - or we encourage you to speak with your medical practitioner.