Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Good Fight & Throwing a Plate

I am sitting here in my office preparing myself for another trip down to Toronto and visiting, for what seems like the umpteenth time in less than a two month span, the hospital where my mom is undergoing surgery for skin cancer on her nose. It is a rather hard journey because it is a bit of a trek to get down there from where we live, the driving conditions aren't the most favourable at this time of year, and the purpose behind this journey is not a fun, or even reasonable, one.
The fact that my mom already lives with a brain injury and aphasia presents a big time double whammy, and going through something that is never easy has been made worse. The fact that brain injury and its related difficulties are hidden from the seeing eye and still relatively unknown or misunderstood makes it frustrating having to explain or receive not-so accurate reactions.

This surgery is the third and final (hopefully) and it is more cosmetic than anything else. The previous surgeries have dealt with and eliminated the cancer; though we were told all went well last year when she underwent radiation. But we have to think positive and do our best to get through it. We have been getting through it! My mom is a superstar to be handling this as good as she is. She's a fighter!

Over the last few years, but especially the last few months, I have spoken with so many fighters and I find it quite amazing what people can really deal with. I've talked with brain injury survivors, heart and/or stroke survivors, cancer survivors, just to name a few. People are capable of so much more than they give thought to, before having to be capable.

There are sad stories, of course. There are stories of individuals not handling things well at all, sure. There are times the illness wins out regardless of the fight. But I've seen a lot of positive attitude, and I've seen so much strength. And as much as I don't like hearing stories of people giving up, I'm still sometimes in awe that it doesn't happen; that people rise up and they face tomorrow and beyond.

I received an email the other day of someone who came across my blog and complimented me on my writing, on the subjects I chose, and on how I have handled what I (myself) have gone though in life. This person was writing me in regards to his wife, her cause, and her blog. I've since checked it out and again, I found something both inspiring and encouraging; a story of survival and creating awareness.
Heather Von St. James, survivor of mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within 2 years of diagnosis. Lung Leavin' Day is her blog and I think anyone reading this should check it out.  Learn about this illness, read about Heather's incredible journey, and write your fear on a plate and smash it in the fire on February 2nd.

Disability or not, illness or not, we all have fears and have fought the good fight. We have or we still do. While we need to hold onto the fighter in us, we need to throw away the fears.
We are all our own individuals, but there is also a little bit of Heather's fight and my mom's fight in all of. So don't give, step out of the shadows, stand tall, fight the good fight, and for the love of yourself and humanity, smash a plate!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Return

It has been five months and a bit since my last post to this blog. Times have been busy with family obligations that have kept me running, it seemed, in circles. Circumstances have not necessarily changed all that much, but I've learned to prioritize and organize a little better...... and so, I return. But when I say 'The Return' I mean much more than just me coming back to the pages of the Challenging Barriers blog.
I refer to something I think we can all relate to and could use a little of, and that is the return of good times, of taking a much needed breath, of stepping back and seeing our lives the way we once did in a moment of clarity. (we all get these moments from time to time) The return to grace.

Life can offer us challenges and unexpected occurrences that can alter our paths. Sometimes these hardships are barely within our control, if they are at all. But with work , patience, and a little faith, 'The Return' can become a reality. Because I do not believe in lost causes, not if there is no good reason for us to lose hope.... there is no need to give up when more strength can be found, as we can fight together.

The story of love lost can be found;
The darkness can become the light it once was;
The difficulties can again become easy;
Sorrows can work their way back to happiness;
The soul of the fallen Angel can, and will, rise again;
And those that offer supportive hearts will benefit by an unrelenting gratitude of love and admiration.

I believe that the current obstacles I find myself facing will, in time, be overcome, just as I have overcome challenges before. I believe in the return of serenity, in time, to those near and dear; along with all those who feel the shadow of darkness.
I believe this to be true because the alternative is too ugly to consider....... because I believe in things like hope, love, strength, virtue. If felt lost, it can all return...... because I believe it is within us all.

That, is 'The Return'.