A Five-Year Celebration

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas right around the corner, I begin to think about what this year has meant to me and my family.

The year started out with my foot in a cast.  February was my birthday, but a week later I was in the hospital with food poisoning.  By March another trip to the hospital with a fall landing on my face.  My insurance had to be ready to cancel me and my face; well it will never be the same.

But, it also was a year of celebration…my 5 Year Anniversary!  Yes, August 1st was five years since the dreaded day of entering the world of a brain tumor survivor.  A survivor of my life being completely turned upside down.  From the surgery to rehabilitation, from job to jobless, from freedom to dependency, from the frustration and defeat, to the will to live and persevere.

In the last five years my family was forced to make all the changes with me.  They never complained even though I was not the jovial person I could have been.  Opening doors and helping with showers and bathes, shampooing and drying my hair, even having to dress me.  Then there was the task of scheduling their lives, so they could be a taxi to shuttle me from doctors to rehab.  You name it, they were there.  I have a wonderful husband of over thirty years, and a daughter and son that all love me, unconditionally with all their hearts.

In the last five years I have been asked many times to share my story.  Many say that the strength and courage I have shown is remarkable.  But, the strength that I have found was to fight the insurance companies and creditors to change policies and procedures, not just for me, but so others don’t have to fight the same battles.  The courage was to get up every day and believe that life would be better, even though my leg would still drag, even tripping me and breaking my arm.  The courage was going to rehab day in and day out, stringing beads and picking up buttons to try and make my hands and fingers move once again.

In the last five years I have learned to deal with seizures.  One while driving my car and unbelievably, coasting to a stop on a ramp not hurting anyone.  At a restaurant while enjoying a Christmas party with my best friends from my former workplace.  At an out-of-town wedding reception for some of our dearest friend’s daughter, all requiring an ambulance ride to a hospital to get the seizures under control.  But, I have been able to control them finally, with the help of a great doctor and medication, which allowed me to get my driving privileges back, even taking my driving test and passing it.

In the last five years I have learned to live with the disabilities I have with my body now.  To accept the help and deal with what I can and cannot do.  To deal with the looks that I am not handicapped, because if you park to close I cannot get in, or out my car.  Trying to pick up a box, or sacks packed so I can carry them with one hand.  I have dropped and broken many things, but none that can’t be replaced.  My pride is what I think has been broken the most, but I too have learned that it can also heal.

In the last five years we have been through so much, just as any survivor or survivor’s family has.  It has taught us to treasure the good times and bad times.  Make a bucket list and not hold it for retirement.  Live not so much for the future, but live today as if there were no tomorrow.  Hug more and say, “I love you”.

Yes, a celebration, that some days will be better than others, but EVERY DAY just being alive is a GOOD DAY!

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