When Pigs Fly


At the very end of school I received this gift from a 4th grade student of mine.  I think it is probably one of my favorite gifts in my 17 years teaching.  Small and delicate, yet tough and determined.  Not much for collecting things, but this was a keeper.

Meghan continues to battle her way through the pain of recovery.  She rests and reads and watches TV to pass the time.  She is tolerating the pain a bit better, although the reality there was a scalpel scraping scar tissue off the ligament and nerve in the center of her palm is not lost on her every few hours as the medication starts to wear off.

The day we came home I explained to her (again) about how Cowden’s Syndrome likes to “overgrow” things.  We talked about “hyper-healing,” and her body’s desire to overproduce cells to try and solve a trauma.  That is a crude explanation of our tumor growth.  That same crude explanation can be used to explain why some Cowden’s patients have a prevalence of scar tissue.  Every time there is a surgery, or an injury the body over works, and sometimes the result can be just as bad as the original problem.

pigs fly

Overcoming impossible odds.  I like the way that sounds.  The overcoming part, that is.

So, we talked about range of motion and the need to keep on moving those fingers so the scar tissue doesn’t form and stiffen things up.  She knows she will need therapy.  She is used to that.  She did not like the thought that her range of motion could be affected permanently if she didn’t move.

With raw determination she wiggles her fingers.  Several times an hour I watch her wince in pain.  No one tells her to.  She just knows she has to, and she doesn’t like the thought of the alternative.

See its all about the swimming.  Her sport.  Her niche.  Her comfort zone.  Nothing will keep her out of the water for long.

The pain exhausts her.  She has circles under her eyes, not from doing much other than being in pain.  But for those of you who live with chronic pain – you know that it wipes you out.  So she sleeps.  13 hours when she can.  Better for the healing I am sure.

When I was dusting this afternoon I came across my friend Penelope Pig, and I thought of how relevant she is.

I thought of all the times in my young life I uttered sarcastically the phrase, “When pigs fly!”

I thought of my arrogance and how little I knew about the important things on life – the things worth fighting for.

I realized in all its ridiculousness, it can  actually be a poignant phrase.

I’m going to let this surgery stand in my way – WHEN PIGS FLY!

I’m going to stop swimming – WHEN PIGS FLY!

It fits for so many things in life.

So many other things on my mind.  So many thoughts all garbled up inside.

Sometimes I feel like we are running on raw nerve, on sheer will and determination.

And guess what – we will give up….




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