The media and internet are buzzing with excitement over Bret Michaels' win last night on Celebrity Apprentice. Michaels, lead singer of the rock band Poison, won $390,000 total for his charity, the American Diabetes Association. Michaels has been a Type 1 diabetic for over 40 years, and his daughter was actually diagnosed with the disease as well – while he was taping the show.
I'm very happy for Michaels. He's demonstrated time and again that he is a creative, level-headed, likeable, hard-working rock star – competitive and yet a team player. He is easy to like, relatable to me at least, and I also appreciate the money and awareness he’s raised for diabetes.
So why the thorn?
Michaels suffered from a brain hemorrhage just nine days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy while he was at home in Arizona before the show's finale. He was in a semi-coma and was given a 50-50 chance of survival. Only 20% of people who suffer from a brain hemorrhage actually survive. He says that he survived because he went to the hospital the minute he felt something had gone wrong - which he describes as an explosion in his head. He is still recovering from the trauma, undergoing physical therapy twice a day, and still has pain in his neck and is having trouble walking.
Doctors have told him to take it easy. Even Donald Trump told him to take it easy, that he had been working too hard. Health comes first.
And yet, Michaels is still working hard. He appeared on the live finale last night, on Oprah last Thursday, and I saw him on the Today Show this morning where Meredith Vieira actually asked him why he is working so hard, preparing to go on tour this summer, while he is still recovering from a very serious ailment. The media seems rightfully concerned about Brett's well-being.
Brett’s response: I’m very driven.
My take on it: He doesn’t want his health to hold him back from pursuing his dreams. He’s been in consultation with doctors the entire time, and so we know that he’s very aware and conscious of taking care of his health. He's chosen to push despite some of the advice given to him. He is on a total high right now. He just won Donald Trump’s reality show. The world has his attention. He has raised a lot of money for diabetes. He survived a brain hemorrhage. He doesn’t want to rest and take it easy. He wants to live life to the fullest as best he can.
I can relate to that, and if I could, I would do the same. We never really know when our time is up, and he's seizing the day.
I'm not saying that I would ignore health though. Carpe diem (seize the day in Latin) doesn't mean that you just dismiss what's best for your body. The diabetes – and its related complications, both physical and emotional – has always been about balance. And in this case, it's the balance between pushing forward mentally while your body is telling you to rest.
This balance is a difficult one to find. Diabetes has been a thorn in my side at times. Sometimes I wonder if I should keep pushing or if I should rest. I have sometimes questioned if I can do certain things. But many times, diabetes has driven me to achieve more, do better, and prove that I can do it. It’s driven me to follow my passions and dreams and live every day to the fullest. The thorn has taught me to appreciate all of the wonderful things in my life, and I want to feel alive. You can only do that by living.
Bret Michaels has inspired and concerned me at the same time. He pushes himself against all odds all while he really still needs to be at home recuperating. He has reminded me that I can too, defy the odds, and achieve my goals - while being mindful of my diabetes. The thorn is there, and we can either let it hold us back - or we can use it, nurture it, take care of it, and allow it to push us toward living our lives to the fullest.