Wednesday, February 13, 2013

So My Husband Can't Walk. Big Deal.

I've gotten to where I can say that and mean it...  on my strong days.

Especially after hearing this:

A dear friend of mine recently got some tough news. A family friend of hers has been diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. He's 41. He's married. They have a small child.

Is your heart broken yet? Because mine is.

His name is Noah and I wish I could hug him but I can't. I'm a stranger. It would be weird.

His wife, Jenny, is unbelievably strong as she writes their CaringBridge.  Her first journal entry letting the world know what they were up against:

"Today Noah (aka "Apollo" for the Rocky fan that Noah is) and his entourage entered the offices of Dr. Wadehra to receive the news of who he would be fighting. The opponent is one of the meanest, ugliest and just down right dirtiest of all time, metastatic pancreatic cancer (aka "The PC"). While we all were hoping for an easier opponent, we all had to take deep breaths, fight back the tears and now get to business on how to proceed. Get your gloves out because the announcer has spoken and the bell has been rung. Noah is in the ring and will be fighting for the biggest of all big prizes, life. We need the all the trainers and cheerleaders we can get to be in his corner. Please send us your fighting words for encouragement!"

My friend who knows them shared something amazing with me that Noah wrote on his Facebook wall recently.  She thought it could inspire Jimmy and I.  That's an understatement.

"I am looking forward to doing so many things I have put off for no good reason: watching movies at home and movies in the theater. Reading books that expand the mind and spirit rather than my career. Giving my dogs the affection they deserve. Meditation, exercise, and sports. Taking a short trip just because. Cooking. Really listening to music. Going for walks in the rain. Painting a wall o...r room to suit my mood. Drawing a picture of my wife and son, to show them how I see them in my heart.

These are the important moments of life, not the incidentals. These are what I should have been making priorities, not options I hope to get around to.

When I did get to this or that, I made a typically poor effort to be fully in the moment, instead keeping the greater part of my attention on some future event that may never arrive.

I knew all this before, but consistently fell flat in my efforts to change the way I actually conducted my life. Without going into why or how, life has called me out and challenged me to actually live my life fully. I am grateful for the opportunity."

Wow.  What a new perspective this gives me.

Sometimes I think Jimmy is immune to diseases now that he has suffered such a traumatic injury. I'd like to think, "Okay, we're done. Now leave us and let us deal with our thing."

The fact is, Cancer runs in Jimmy's family. I count my lucky stars each day he seems healthy.

With that said, I am reminded of something we heard once in peer support. That spinal cord injuries are one of the few injuries/diseases where the patient is most likely to get better -- not worse.

So my husband can't walk. Big deal.  If it means I can live with him and hold him and continue to ask for his help with simple math -- we'll take it.

I will think of Noah and his family often.  His attitude makes me smile. Jenny's candor and strength gives me something to aspire to.

I wish for them to beat this thing.  

Never lose hope.

Just keep going!

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