Looking back over the last few years of my life, my goal has been to live as if there were no tomorrow, which in my case became a real possibility last year. I have been no regrets about many of my major life decisions other than the choice to begin using an electric wheelchair about 11 years ago, because that has had a great impact on my overall strength and level of mobility. Another recent major goal in my life includes the re-entrance to the workforce after over 20 years of unemployment. This along with completing a Master’s degree in English/Creative Writing has been a personal breakthrough for me. It shows that with hard work, determination, and unwavering support from my husband and family a mid-life career opportunity has been realized. Honestly for anyone that has experienced long-term isolation due to an illness such as MS, Parkinson’s, or any disabling disease, Higher Education is the ultimate key to personal and career salvation in my eyes.
Through these essays, I realize just how much I have to be thankful for! I am grateful to my parents for wanting to try for a son “just one more time”, and I am grateful for the ways I was raised. Of course my sisters will probably say that I was spoiled, but I won’t even go into that discussion. My thoughts are that mom & dad had plenty of practice raising my sisters, so that when I arrived on the scene, I’m sure I was an angel!
Nevertheless, this is by no means my final book, much less my final thoughts on life. I began a blog: Adaptively Written, where I post my musings on life so please stop by and spend some moments reading even more about my life, and the ways God continues to show His greatness.
These past few years have really taken their toll on my body, as I suffered through kidney stones, 8 surgeries for those stones, almost a week and a half in an unconscious state due to Septicemia, an emergency helicopter flight from my hometown to Little Rock, too many days in hospitals, two separate diagnosis’ of Breast Cancer, the turmoil of deciding to undergo a double mastectomy only to be told that wasn’t an option because I am on blood thinners for the rest of my life because I now have a Deep Vein Thrombosis in my leg. Let’s see, what else? It doesn’t matter what else I’ve been through, because all of that is in the past.
The one thing that I think has changed my life the most is surprising for many who hear me say it, and that is Online Education! I began working on a Master’s degree in March of 2012 and I have loved every minute of it! I received a Master’s in English and Creative Writing in August of 2015 from Southern New Hampshire University, and immediately began working on a Master’s of Science in Marketing with an emphasis in Social Media. Being enrolled in school has given my life a purpose like nothing ever has before. Granted, becoming a mother to our two beautiful, smart, funny, loving daughters gave me a purpose in a major way, and I tried my best to raise them the best way I knew how. I know that we made mistakes in parenting them, and continue to do so now, but children are resilient in ways I never imagined. Steve and I raised them to be kind, caring, and devoted to their family and I for one am so proud of the young women they are becoming!
I will be beginning radiation therapy soon for my Breast Cancer. I had hoped it would all be behind me before Christmas, but since Christmas is only a few weeks away, I don’t see that happening! So, I guess I should be grateful that my cancer is treatable, because for so many it is not. And I’m thankful for my wonderful doctors in Little Rock and Hot Springs because they have arranged for me to receive therapy closer to home. My first appointment with the new doctor is scheduled for Dec. 16. I’m looking forward to getting all of this behind me. I’m still disappointed that I am not a candidate for a double mastectomy; I guess mammograms WILL be in my future!
I find myself having to remember all the things I have to be grateful for. I’ll admit that much. Yes, I want everything to be perfect for me, and when it isn’t I secretly (or not so secretly) sulk! I am not proud of it in any way, but at least I’m admitting to it, which I think earns me some brownie points. I am married to a wonderful man for 25 years, we have two beautiful and smart daughters, my parents are still with us and lead active lives, my sisters are both happily married and their homes fill with grandchildren most weekends, my big, large, family still enjoys getting together several times a year, if not monthly, and I live in a home that’s paid for, we drive a minivan that is paid for and is handicapped accessible, two trucks are parked outside, we have food in our stomachs, as well as clothes on our backs, shoes to wear and coats to keep us warm, and way too much stuff in our house. That shows that we have enough money to provide for ourselves. Sure, it isn’t the home my girlhood dreams imagined I would be living in, but it is our home, and we have no mortgage. We have our health, which at times over the past two years has not always been the case! I am thankful for each day that I awaken; I just have to remind myself of all the things I have to be thankful for.
When I imagined my life as an adult, I always imagined it to be a full life, filled with love, children, happiness, and plenty of money to support a classy lifestyle. I didn’t imagine that one day I would be sitting in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath home on our own property in the country not far from where I grew up. I raised our two daughters the best way that I knew how, and they have turned out to be kind, loving, and caring young women… I think I can take a lot of credit for that!!
I am also thankful in a strange way, for the fact that I have had Multiple Sclerosis for nearly 30 years. The fact that I was able to stay home with my children instead of working at an outside job for all of their growing years, I am extremely thankful for that! I’m not saying that working moms don’t love their children as much as I do, but rather I have sacrificed having the nice home in the nice subdivision with a nice car parked in the garage, with neatly manicured lawns and flower beds. We could have had all of this, and most likely more if I had not stayed at home to raise the girls. I am grateful for every moment that I have spent molding our daughters into the beautiful young women that they have become. My mind is absolutely full of all the memories I have made with my daughters, and I wouldn’t change any of them!
I thank God on a daily basis for the life I’ve led and just hope that I may continue to lead this blessed life for many more years! My heart overflows with joy and happiness, I just have to remind myself of my fortunes when I start feeling down. I am blessed, and I know it in my heart! Like many of you, I sometimes take these things for granted and am not thankful for them. I now make it a daily effort to thank God for all of my many blessings, because there are so many people in this world that do not have these blessings. God is good, of that much I am sure.