Monday, February 28, 2011

My perspective

 I use to have a quote I lived by: 
"I can do anything if I am not nauseous." 
This was developed after 4 very sick pregnancies or aka: "The boat ride that never ends" or so it seemed at the time. 

Long after the pregnancies were over, that was still my motto. I learned much from those long boat rides. Or as my mother wrote in her journal, "There is no progression ease to ease." 

All these years later my nausea memories have thankfully faded, and now I live by a different motto, from some other life lessons that have come my way.

When I was Relief Society president a few years back I became very well acquainted with adversity in life. Not just my own...mine very much paled to what I saw others go through. Just one example of many...there was this one woman in our ward, a little older than myself, who had numerous, unrelenting health challenges. Not just a few maladies, but many things were going wrong with her body.

The pain, the uncertainty...the many days she could not get out of bed. Then she would bounce back for a few days or a week or so, and she would be out and about getting things done. On one of these occasions as I saw her pushing her cart through the grocery store, she was just smiling to herself. I couldn't help but go up to her and ask, "Please tell me. You are an inspiration. How do you do this?" She explained that she wants to enjoy each and everyday. "Any a day I'm not in pain, is a GOOD day. And even when I am in pain, I want to enjoy that day."

She made an impression on me. I was going through some pain at the time that would just not leave me alone.My jaw had become dysfunctional and I was living on very soft foods. For 7 years. One of those years I could only tolerate liquids. My Pollyanna husband (who is much like my Mom, btw) would say nearly every single day, "Don't we have THE BEST life?"  I wanted to respond, "Well maybe you do. You can eat. I can't." A time or two I did say that, but usually I would get quiet and think to myself, 'Well at least he's happy."

I quit going to weddings, family potlucks, restaurants...all the gathering places for people and food.

Then I came to the point where I'd had enough. Whether my jaw hurt, or I could eat or not eat, this was my life and it was going along without me. I was missing out on the joy of it. 

But I didn't get to this place without some help.

A very pivotal point to my understanding, was when my niece (Hailey's mother) lived for nearly 3 years with leukemia. Just being alive (and not having cancer) took on a whole different meaning to me, because of her. She kept a blog and shared with many of us an inside view of living with cancer. One particular post changed my life. I'm not being dramatic here, really, it did. I still think of it often.

Here it is:

“One of my friends who is a patient heard it was my birthday, so she rounded up about 8 other patients who weren’t in isolation and got them out into the lobby on our floor.  Roy, a man who has battling his cancer since 1999, called me and said,  “Robin, come out in the lobby right now.”  I went out there and it was pretty comical to see a big group of patients with IV poles and masks, all worn out and skinny, but with big smiles on their faces.  Five of the eight people there are battling the same cancer I have, AML, which is one of the toughest to cure, and many of them don’t have very good prognosis's at this point in their treatment…..but they all stood there with big smiles ready to sing Happy Birthday.  They all had learned the secret, a day is a day, and every day counts!”

That became my new motto, "A day is a day, and every day counts."

I remember about this same time period, having a discussion with an acquaintance about life and adversity. I shared a little of what I was going through at the time, and she said to me, "Life happens!" It seemed a bit flippant. But it's stayed with me in a good way. Sort of along the same lines of a quote I heard recently, "Life is painful, Princess!"

Whether we live in a castle or not, "life happens." Some of it's painful. The trick is enjoying the journey, enjoying the adventure of it all. And realizing that we better be thankful for what we have because one phone call can change it all.

It's taken me decades to get to this. Not just my body aging, but my appreciation for every single day. 
 A day is a day and every day counts.

But I still think it would be HARD if I were nauseous. Just had to add that.


McKenna Heasley said...

Thank you for this post I loved it! This is so true and so easy to forget. You are such a wonderful example to me.

Sue said...

Just what I needed to hear today, Jill. "A day is a day, and every day counts."

And I am realizing lately that I want to live every one of mine to the fullest.


the Rich girl said...

Ditto to what McKenna said.

I'll work on remembering that every day counts.

Susan Rozier said...

It was nice to "listen" to your experiences and thoughts--sort of like having a visit with you. Thanks for sharing. The example of others can surely inspire us, obviously. Or, that same example can send us on a downward spiral because we compare ourselves and come up short. Choices. It's all choices. Robin really was an inspiration wasn't she? Thanks for the good food for my hungry thoughts. Love, Susan

darlene said...

Did your jaw problem ever resolve?
I've said things like "Well, I'm alive right now, and that's good" when I was going through ongoing rough physical stuff. It helped.
I've always admired you for your great attitude, Jill. You continue to inspire me.

Robin said...

Jill, thank you for your willingness to share the things you've learned !! I too think you are an inspiration!! One of your thoughts has been mine and Hillary's watch cry and how we've made it thru..." Let's think of it as an adventure and not a trial" !! And we too have tried to be happy every day, it is one of two choices you have every day when you wake up, to be happy or not... happy is much more fun !!! On the days I can't muster happy I stay in bed and don't share my bad attitude !! lol Love ya R

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Thank you honey for reminding me of this and for sharing such a beautiful story with us.
A day is a day and every day counts is priceless and I hope that I keep this tattooed on my forehead because I have been known to be a little down in times of pain.
Bless you for this post

Karen Mortensen said...

Thanks Jill. I remember when Robin wrote that on her blog. Thanks for the reminder. You are awesome.

Eileen said...

"A day is a day and every day counts"
I love it!
This was a wonderful reminder to make each day count, and thanks for sharing the blog post from your beautiful niece Robin. I think it's wonderful that her daughter Hailey will always have that to cherish.

I remember my Mom telling me that when she and her sisters were growing up they were very, very poor. One year they weren't able to pay the rent for the whole year, and finally the landlord had to put them out. The girls were all complaining about having to go stay with relatives and my grandmother said to them, "Oh, forget about yourself for a little while."
It sounds almost cruel, but it's so true, if we just forget about ourselves for a little while we can focus more clearly.

Thanks for this post, Jill.
Love and Prayers,

Sharon said...

Love IT! Any day can have some good in it. Thank you.

grandmapeg said...

I wished I would have read this yesterday. Thanks for the inspiring thought. I'm definitely going to write that down and keep it in a place where I can see it each day. You give me many thoughts to think about and apply in my life. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

Grandma Honey said...

Thank you for all your very nice comments.

Darlene~ My jaw is about 85% better than it was. So YES it is good.

Robin~ When I am having a bad day I need to vent. If I just ignore it sometimes it will grow and get bigger. A safe place to vent and reflect. Then I am better able to get my perspective back.

Scrapally said...

This is a great quote and it has found a place by my computer next to the other one I need to read a lot..."Breath & Smile, it's a brand new day!" I try to be thankful for each day that I am given, that I am still breathing and can have another day on this earth. Thanks for inspiring me as usual and sharing your thoughts with us. HUGS!

Darlene said...

I did love this post so much. I am also so glad that your jaw is so much better. I'm wondering if you had surgery to make it so, or what?

I can't believe you have another Darlene commenting. I only have met one other Darlene in all my 83 plus years. I'm glad she asked the question, because I was wondering if it was still bad all the way through this post.

You are an inspiration to me. Thanks so much. I hope you keep improving each day, and I love love love that saying. It will be a big help to me, I am sure.

Grandma Honey said...

No I never had surgery. I tried numerous things over those 7 years (and 1000s of $$$$) but I think it was the cod liver oil that did the most good. My on going neck pain is gone too. I've heard cod liver oil lubricates our joints. It took months of using it before I saw gradual improvement. My body must need it. I can't be certain, but I think that's it.

cristie said...

wow, that is a remarkable story. xox