This is quite a garble of thoughts… good luck!
** This blog was written over 2 days. The BLUE type was written today, Sunday July 19th, and the BLACK type is from Saturday, July 18th.**
I’ve been asked by people who read this blog, several lately, “How do you stay so UP, all the time?” Sometimes I find that question to be the biggest irony. I struggle often, and deeply. The whole purpose of this blog is a candid description of our journey with this beast called “Cowden’s Syndrome.” Let none of you ever imagine for a minute that we are “UP” all the time, cause it’s just not true.
But, as difficult of a road as this is, I have tried always to remain acutely aware of the connections we have to others, and the never-ending reality that “everyone has something.”
So often my writing is where I work it out. I type. I think. I read and reread. And, cheaper than a therapy session, I am able to tease away the negativity and find the focus I need. And when I am unsure, and it just doesn’t sound right. I wait. Just like I advise people to think before they speak, “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” I try to think before I publish. So last night I sat wrestling with this. And I never hit publish.
From “Corner of the Sky,” Pippin soundtrack
Everything has its season
Everything has its time
Show me a reason and I’ll soon show you a rhyme
Cats fit on the windowsill
Children fit in the snow
So why do I feel I don’t fit in anywhere I go?
So again we hear, “That’s really unusual.” “I’ve never seen that before.” “Typically…” And I chuckle, in frustration and in the irony of it all.
This time it was at the dentist. Meghan felt something in the back of her mouth. An X-ray revealed an impacted wisdom tooth. She’ll be 12 next month. The consult with the oral surgeon is on the 29th, two days after she meets with the hand surgeon (again) to discuss the vascular lesion on her palm. Her abdominal sonogram to screen for Cowden’s related issues is on July 31st.
This week someone will call me with the name of a foot and ankle surgeon, suggested by the orthopedist who did her knee surgery based on her foot pain and size discrepancy. Who really knows where that will lead?
I’ve got a bone density test set for Monday, to determine if 30 years of thyroid medication, and early menopause forced on by a hysterectomy at 38, has depleted my bone density. My next phone call needs to be to the vascular surgeon. He had some success with the right leg in February. The left leg is in dire need now. That is as soon as I can settle the errors on the anesthesia bill.
The number for the “Skin Cancer Screening Clinic” at NYU sits on my desk. Meghan and I both need to be scheduled.
I just finished completing the papers for her medication for the 2015-2016 school year. They are copied, one is filed, and one is set to be mailed Monday.
We’ve started to discuss, the two of us, dates for the 2016 “Jeans for Rare Genes” fundraiser. We’ve got some neat ideas. It passes the time.
For the second year in a row, Meghan was nominated for the Global Genes Project “Teen Advocacy Award,” and although she did not win, it is an incredible honor to be making a noticeable difference at such a young age. One day we will take her to California for the Global Genes Advocacy Summit. One day her vision of a denim ribbon necklace will come to fruition. One day. But not this year. Because this year I am trying to schedule vascular surgery that weekend. Because we have to prioritize. Right?
I have set some fitness goals this summer. I am setting a 10,000 step a day minimum. I am aiming for at least 5 miles a day. My dog is in the cross-fire of this goal. She is my walking partner. Because she likes to walk – but maybe not quite that far- and she can’t really say no.
I am always struck by the ironies in life. I am stronger than I have been in years. In many ways I am healthier. I have found Isagenix, and I feel better. Stronger. More resilient. More able to cope with life’s obstacles.
Which is good. Because life has a tendency to be really isolating.
I suppose we all feel that way sometimes. And many of us feel that way most of the time. But, sometimes that is little consolation.
I am grateful not to fit in with the Moms of really sick kids. I don’t envy them at all.
But, I can’t find a spot with the Moms of mostly healthy kids either. Unless I don’t talk much.
Cause talking about a “healthy sick kid” is confusing, and frankly more than most people can, or choose to process.
I want to spend time with people my own age. I have lots and lots of people I like, but not too many friends to get together with. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just get together. And chat. Maybe over lunch, or dinner, or drinks. Or maybe have a barbecue, or even a night with other couples. Where everyone socializes. And no one is overly worried about anything. But we end up declining the few invitation we get because something always seems to be in the way.
This life is isolating. The constant doctor’s appointments, surgeries, food allergies, medical bills, prescription drug battles, mobility restrictions, have made us difficult to “hang out” with. And I get it. And it doesn’t make me mad. Because it is what it needs to be right now. And there are friends I talk to and text with.
Do not misinterpret this as a need or a desire for pity, or sympathy, because it couldn’t be farther from that. What I write here is a simple representation of facts that are. They just are. And maybe one day they won’t be. But, I have already learned not to wish life away, not even the uncomfortable parts.
But on nights like tonight, when two decks on my block are lit up with social gatherings, I find that I long for summer days of freedom. I crave careless, schedule free days. I dream of getting up one morning, and hopping in the car with Meghan and just going somewhere far away from doctors and hospitals.
Just like the curly haired people who wonder about straight hair, I wonder. But, even as I wonder, in my heart I know this journey is taking us somewhere. Somewhere with an end I can not see. There are stops along the way to make us stronger, wiser, and more patient. There are lessons on empathy and compassion to be learned. There are experiences that will turn us into the people we were meant to be. The road is long and winding. Sometimes the climb is tough. But, but the view, when you really stop and look, is amazing…
Rivers belong where they can ramble
Eagles belong where they can fly
I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free
Got to find my corner of the sky…
I ended last night feeling lonely, and lost. The song from Pippin had been in my head all day, resurrected from memories of ages ago. Yet, I couldn’t shake it. Where do I go?
This morning Meghan was well. She woke up well, and early enough to make a two-hour morning swim practice, which she completed. I had time to walk a few miles near the pool. The sun was beautiful, and the air wasn’t quite that warm yet. There were birds singing happily, and flowers to appreciate.
After swim we made it to church. It had been a few weeks since we were able to get ourselves there.
And in the bulletin I was met with a quote,
“I know I cannot enter all you feel
nor bear with you the burden of your pain
I can but offer what my love does give –
The strength of caring, the warmth of one who seeks to understand.
This I do in quiet ways – that on your lonely path you may not walk alone.” – Howard Thurman
There was a basket of rocks where we were instructed to take one to represent us. The rocks were placed in a bowl, and water would surround those rocks symbolizing the love of Christ. Stories were told, personal and biblical, about love and caring for the physically, and emotionally wounded.
We were invited to choose other rocks, to represent people we loved, who had needs weighing heavy on our hearts. As I chose mine my eyes were full of tears. Not of sadness for those people, but of the promise that they are also enveloped in the love of God. My hand was full, I must admit, and I took a few moments to say a prayer over each rock as I placed it in the water. And then, tears of pride, as I saw my daughter had selected her own “rocks” to pray over.
The closing hymn (words and music by Marty Haugen, 1987) began like this;
“Healer of our every ill, light of each tomorrow, give us peace beyond our fear and hope beyond our sorrow… You who know our fears and sadness, grace us with your peace and gladness, spirit of all comfort fill our hearts…”
And the idea that we are here to “Bear one another’s burdens,” permeated my heart.
I am not “UP” by my doing at all. I treat my body well. I treat my mind well. And I allow my soul to be cared for.
My peace comes from the knowledge, the belief, the conviction that we are guided by a loving God. That all things are not mine to know, and that through His grace alone we have the strength to remain,