Those Three Words…


Those three words, though spoken to me in varying forms in recent months, appeared in print in a letter from Social Security recently.

Those three words pointed the nuances and power that can exist in the spoken or printed word.

Those three words were in reference to the lung disease that I contracted over the last two years, called Non-Specific Interstitial Pneumonitis (NSIP).

Those three words, when spoken earlier, were uttered during the course of a physical exam or discussion of the results of numerous tests.

Those three words, in that context, were powerful as a sobering hammer that there is a new medical world order in my life.

Those three words, when spoken, begged a lot of questions and “what will be” issues.

Those three words, when heard, produced the expected shock and concern about the process going forward.

Those three words, when finally understood, set new determination for course of treatment and stability, since recovery is not possible.


Those three words, when seen in black and write, printed on the page, went beyond the medical and actually became a sobering reminder of life itself going forward.


Backing up just a little, we are still trying to ascertain how I contracted NSIP. I am not a smoker, never have been. It is thought that it was something inhaled during the course of my employment, but that is not yet certain.

NSIP is rare enough that there are no support groups to share concerns and life experiences with. It has significantly affected my ability to perform substantial work. That meant that my job search was made even more difficult as I searched for employment that I could perform. (This requires me to use portable oxygen when physically active outside.)

Those three words appeared in a letter from Social Security Disability.

Those three words were part of a section about claims review, which come in three stages: 6 MO-1YR, 2 YRS- 3 YRS, and 5 to 7 YRS, based on the likelihood of recovery. Those three words were assigned to the final category.

Those three words on the printed page were monumental. They no longer spoke about a medical issue, they now spoke about my real life future.

Those three words closed a lot of doors to the past, to working in an industry that I loved, to doing activities that may now be off limits, and mentally, to what I still had wanted to accomplish.

Those three words initially sledge hammered whatever I have left at age 55.

Those three words said nothing will be the same.

However, if I listen to those three printed words as intently as I would if they were spoken to me, then I can take away an entirely different perspective.

Those three printed words, when heard properly, begs for conversation and consultation with others, and not insulation from the future unknowns.

Those three printed words, when listened to, need the same future planning for as full a life as possible going forward as if they were not needed.

Those three printed words, when understood, can build the resolve to use what you have accomplished in the past and point that toward future success on new and unique terms.

Those three words…IMPROVEMENT IS UNLIKELY…is my body challenging my mind to move forward with my life on my terms.

Here we go…

11 comments on “Those Three Words…

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