Monday, April 21, 2014


I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: Reflection.  This is a day to reflect. For the WEGO Health family, we reflect on those who lost loved ones in the Boston Marathon Bombing last year and hope for a bright future for those impacted. Reflect on your journey to this day, what are your thoughts and hopes for the future?

When we take a moment to reflect on the tragic events at last year's Boston Marathon, the main thing that comes to my mind is the phrase, the feeling, the statement: Boston Strong.  In the moments following the explosions, many people ran into the smoke to save the ones who could not get to safety on their own.  In the days and weeks that followed, the city - the country, in fact - rallied together under that sentiment: we were stronger than the bombers. 

Similar actions and sentiments followed the Sandy Hook shootings, 9/11, Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, and just about every other catastrophic event I can remember.  Time and again, after unthinkable tragedy, people have come out of the darkness to inspire hope, strength, and unity.  Human beings are amazingly resilient; when someone tries to tear us down, we help each other up again and again.

Though I would never compare my life to those tragedies, the basic idea is there: time after time I have been hit with things I wouldn't wish on anyone, but I refuse to let them take me down for good.  A while back, friend said that I had a “strong survivor spirit” – that no matter what happened to me, I came out of it stronger, with another story to tell.  Ultimately, that’s really what led me to start this blog.  I'm here to tell the stories that help us get back up every time life tries to knock us down.

Over the years, I have taken plenty of hits, things that could easily make anyone throw in the towel.  I was originally going to go through them here (well, a handful of them, anyway), and show that after every knockdown, I found a way to get back up.  The thing is, that's not the part I choose to focus on.
When we think of a great fighter, we don't concentrate on each jab and uppercut that his opponent landed, and we don't think about the bruises he was left with.  What stands out in our mind, what becomes his identity, is his resilience, his perseverance, ... and in many cases, his swagger.  It's a cycle of strength and confidence: he gets up because he knows he can; he knows he can because he has gotten up so many times before. 

Ultimately, it is that cycle of belief that has helped to get me where I am today.  I have always been inspired by people who have turned their tragedies into triumph; even more so by those who found a way to help others do the same.  That is always my hope when I post anything here: that someone can learn from my struggles, that my words can help someone through his or her own.  Whether it's chronic illness, injury, loss, heartbreak, or any other challenge we face, we can get through it.  We can keep going.  We can believe that we can.  The cycle has to start somewhere; I suggest we start it right now.

**If you like what you read, tell a friend.  In fact, tell me, too - post a comment below!  If you don't ... well ... I'm all for honesty, but ... please be gentle!