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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Then a hero comes along

Not all heroes wear their underwear on the outside or fly around in capes wearing spandex. Most live their lives quietly not knowing that anyone is watching.

My friend Sondria Browne writes a blog called "The Rising." It's about her life with breast cancer. I love reading it because it not only inspires me, it gives me a kick in the ass when I need one.  (Sondria's blog can be found at: http://sondriab.blogspot.ca/2013/03/circle-of-sun.html?spref=fb
Believe it or not, there are lots of days when I need a good kick in the ass to get going. I went through major back surgery last year and I am still recovering, still living in pain and this damp, cold weather doesn't make life any easier. There are days I just can't take the pain anymore.

Then a hero comes along.
Sondria posts a blog. It's about her daily struggles with breast cancer. She's funny and witty. She makes me laugh out loud. I look through her pictures documenting her past year. The picture of her beautiful daughter. I can't imagine what goes through your mind when you're fighting for your life. I know her first thoughts have to be about her daughter and the life she only started to live. I can't even get my mind about around it. She puts herself out there. She's not afraid to cry out loud. She lets a photographer take her picture showing her reconstructed breast to the world. I sit up and think "How lucky am I? My back hurts. So what. Get up and get moving. It's not cancer." Thank you Sondria for kicking my ass.

It's so easy to let yourself get down. I still have a hard time walking and doing stairs. It gets frustrating because I used to run up to five miles every day. I ran the Tely 10! Now I need help going down the stairs. Without even thinking I start with the "Why me? Why did this happen to me?"

Then a hero comes along.
My Mother-in-law lost her leg a few years ago. It was very hard on her. She was a beautiful woman who loved to dance, to go shopping to go bowling every week. Then a horrible disease took her leg and gradually weakened the remaining one. Now she uses a walker to get around but most of the time, she uses a wheel chair. A traumatic blow like that could send someone into a deep depression, not her. She gets up every morning, puts her make-up on, does her hair and calls Wheel-Way when she wants to go out. She refuses to be a burden to anyone and insists on living alone. She's gone all the time, playing cards, visiting friends, going to supper. Her will to live is incredible. I've never heard her say "Why me? Why did this happen to me?"  She just smiles and says "Thank God I am alive. Every day is a blessing." The wheel chair doesn't define who she is or what she can do. It's just a chair. I think of her when I get frustrated and tell myself "Take the ramp. Who needs stairs anyway. Be grateful you can still walk."

The one thing I have realized over the past year is that no one suffers from an illness alone. It affects everyone around you. Your children, your coworkers, your friends, your spouse.
Then a hero comes along.

I would never be able to have the quality of life I have now without my husband. He suffers from this disease as much as I do. Over the years, we have developed a love of travel and used to take the opportunity every chance we got. It's hard to travel with someone who can't walk long distances and needs a cane from time-to-time. I am sure he never imagined his life would end up like this. I've learned that you have to compromise to make a marriage strong. I've also learned that you have to say "Thank-you." There are times when I have to cancel our plans at the last minute because I am not feeling well. There are times I can't get out of bed and my husband becomes a single parent having to leave work early to drive kids to events, finish homework and make supper. I realize you can't help it when you're sick but you can say "Thank-you" to those around you who are also affected by your illness.
Having a disease doesn't make you a hero. It's just makes you a person with a disease. How you deal with it makes you a hero. How you treat the people around you makes you a hero. 

The people in your life that allow you to continue to live with dignity, who live with your disease too, they are the heroes. Make sure you thank them every day.