Archive for March, 2012

Sometimes I think my life is hard.

Like last night when I was running to the bathroom to throw up because of food poisoning and Cole was crying in the kitchen because he thought it was a race and I had left him in the dust.

Or lots of times when I have to fix a “quadriplegic emergency” – which actually could be anything from nursing a bedsore to running to the garage because Jason has gotten stuck on the ramp.

I saw a story today about a family who has eight children, four with muscular dystrophy.  As the line of family members traveled along, with three wheelchairs interspersed, I said to Jason, “Just when I thought my life was hard.”

I don’t know what it is like to deal with many of the trials and challenges that people face in this world.  But I do know what it’s like to live with someone in a wheelchair.  And while our lives are rich beyond measure, there are still hard things.  No matter what adversity you might face or what joys you experience, there are still hard things.

But I am so grateful today.  Not for the food poisoning.  Not for the “quadriplegic emergencies.”  Not for the three-year-old always wanting to “win” whatever competition he is participating in.  I’m grateful for you.  For your stories.  For your moments of strength that beat out the moments of struggle.  The smiles in spite of the circumstances.  The life lived well – or as best as you can live it at the moment.

The picture of the jar of butterflies that I used in my last post came from this etsy shop.  I used it simply because I liked the picture for what I was trying to say about my One Little Word.  Today, I still like it.  I like it so much that I just bought those little butterflies.  And I can’t wait to receive 100 butterflies in my mailbox.  I know.  Now you want some, too.

Lucky me.  Life isn’t so hard after all.

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It’s March.

I’m just getting around to talking about my word for 2012.  I chose it weeks ago.  I just haven’t felt ready to talk about it yet.

This is fitting, though.  It’s the exact reason why I have chosen my word.  Over the 22 months I have been getting, experiencing and recovering from gallstone pancreatitis the key word for my life was “survive.”  Sometimes it was physical survival, when I spent time in the ICU.  Sometimes it was mental survival, when the constant pain management was anything but managed.  I could barely think beyond the pain because it takes over your thoughts so completely.  Sometimes my survival was emotional.  Will it ever end?  Will I ever be able to walk further than around the block?  Is this the mom that Cole will know?  Then there was the spiritual survival.  I don’t care what religion you practice or don’t practice, when your life is threatened or you have major adversity, your sense of spirituality is shaken or strengthened, thriving or non-existent, depending on the moment.

It has taken almost two years for me to be able to imagine life beyond my health.  I feel myself taking one little toe and stepping it outside of my circle of pancreatitis that I have built around me.  One little toe.  Trying it out.  Is there life outside of this world that has been my reality?  I haven’t been totally sure.  But I feel ready to find out.


That is my word for 2012.  Not survive.  Not cope.  Not stumble or fumble through.  Emerge.

I can stand straight now instead of hunched over protecting my belly and all the craziness going on in there.  I can put my shoulders back without pain from the stretching.  I can take lengthy strides instead of shuffling along.  I can lift things.  Push things.  Pull things.  Reach.

And I don’t mean just physically.  I am setting goals that a real person might set instead of a sick one.  I’m looking forward.  Looking up.  Looking ahead.  Believing I can actually participate in an event or activity instead of putting a question mark next to it because I may not have the energy.

Due to necessity, I have adopted the stance over the last two years of holding my arms over my stomach.  It’s a protection.  Protection from my toddler’s elbows and knees.  Protection from simple obstacles like walking in a crowded area.  Life puts us in physical contact with many things and I’ve had to learn to protect myself from that for the simple reason that it hurts when things touch me.

No more.  Do I still feel pain?  Yes.  But it’s not very bad.  I have some areas on my belly that are numb and will probably never get feeling back.  I have a 9″ scar that runs down the middle of my belly that I’m really looking forward to showing off this summer – ha ha!  I am bruised from insulin shots and we are constantly monitoring how to deal with that as my body continues to heal and change.  This is my new normal.  My reality.  And I think I’m ready to face it instead of just survive it.

As I have pondered the word I wanted to focus on this year, I kept coming back to something visual and powerful.  No more sitting on the sidelines.  I’m ready to step out.  Slowly, at first.  But that’s ok.  A step is a step.

You will see that my new blog header shows off my word.  I love the color choice.  I’m not a rainbow person but I feel very strongly that this is the year for branching out, experiencing all the hues that life can offer me in my new body and this blending of colors represents the life palette I want to create for myself.

And of course, the butterfly.  I know it might seem obvious but I kept coming back to it.  My hunched over body has been cooped up in a cocoon of my own making.  A protective shell, true.  But so much more than that.  A place of development and change and growth.  A place for becoming beautiful and fighting your way out to the world beyond.  The parallels of a butterfly’s creation to how I feel about my life experiences overwhelm me to the point that I cannot ignore this lovely butterfly as I think about my word.

Since I chose my word things have been happening.  Opportunities and experiences that I am not sure I would have pursued six months ago have presented themselves in my life and become part of this personal emergence.  I believe this has happened because I have been consciously thinking about specific ways that I can apply my word to my life.

The power of a word.  One little word.  I love my word for 2012.  And I look forward to sharing with you more about my opportunities to emerge as the days pass.  Thank you for being a part of this journey with me.  Your cheers and prayers and love over the last two years have all brought me to this place, where I finally feel the reality of embracing an empowering word like “emerge” in my life.

Here’s to one little word.  And the life we live because of these little words.

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