I am honored to feature fellow writer and Dan Blank’s Build Your Author Platform course classmate, Kathleen Pooler as a guest blogger this week. She writes about how faith and hope, family and friends helped her stay on the course in her battle against cancer. She is inspirational.
Staying in the Race
“THE ONLY WAY OF DISCOVERING THE LIMITS OF THE POSSIBLE IS TO VENTURE A LITTLE WAY PAST THEM INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE.” Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future.
On a picture-perfect sunny, blazing October morning in Eastern New York State, along the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers, I had the thrill of following my daughter, Leigh Ann, as she ran her first marathon. Grandsons, Jacob,5 and Ethan,4, played a key role in this effort as they held up their homemade “Go Mommy Go and “You Can Do It” posters. When she reached the finish line four hours and nineteen minutes later, Jacob and Ethan joined her in crossing over. Her message on Facebook was “a great support system can get one through what once seemed impossible.”
My marathon was a diagnosis of Stage Four Non Hodgkin Lymphoma on Christmas Eve, 1996. After dealing with the shock of the diagnosis, I had to learn how to be a patient, handing in my stethoscope for a hospital gown and two years of intense chemotherapy, radiation and a stem cell transplant. I was in training for the battle of my life and for my life. I cried, I prayed, I let my family and friends rub my feet and make me meals, I raged until one day, I just yelled at God,
“You are the great Miracle-maker so make me a miracle. Heal me so I can dance at my daughter’s wedding and hug my grand-kids. Let me see my son find his way. Give me hope for better days.”
Then before my stem cell transplant, I sat down to write a list of positive visualizations~ attending my friend’s wedding, traveling to Missouri and Wisconsin to visit friends, dancing at my niece’s wedding with hair and going back to work as a nurse practitioner.
And every single wish came true.
Dealing with illness is every bit like a marathon. In the midst of a diagnosis, whether it be an acute condition like cancer or a chronic condition like an autoimmune disorder, health seems like an impossible dream, an amazing feat.
Illness requires the ongoing support of medical professionals, family and friends. One has to learn how to be a patient, to listen to the medical experts while still maintaining a semblance of independence and normalcy. There are many hurdles and setbacks along the way. When a runner “hits a wall”, she is told to keep working past it much like a person with a diagnosis needs to keep working past the hurdles and setbacks of medication side effects or disease exacerbation’s. In a marathon, each participant competes against herself, striving for her own personal best. A person with a diagnosis needs to dig deeply within herself to find her own inner strength to fight the battle. Both runners and people with illnesses have to pace themselves so they can last in the long haul.
I have been in remission since 1998.
For me, the power of hope through my faith in God helped me to stay in the race and cross the finish line.
How do you stay in the race?
Kathleen Pooler is a Family Nurse Practitioner and writer from eastern New York State, at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. She lives on a 135-acre farm where her husband, Wayne, grows organic vegetables and sells them at local farmer’s markets. She is a very grateful cancer survivor who is writing a memoir about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to climb out of the abyss of her life’s challenges~ divorce, single parenting, alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure~ to find a life of peace and joy. She believes that hope matters and that we are all enriched when we share our stories of hope.
You may visit Kathy at her blog: Write On~Random Thoughts About Writing and Life from a Memoir Writer http://krpooler.com
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