…we would not have taken our “trip of a lifetime” before our oldest went off to college. A trip that made more family memories than the 16 years she grew up in our house! We did the impossible-RV’d down the east coast in only two weeks, hitting all the major beach towns, culminating in a surprise visit to Harry Potter World. With 3 teens, 1 tween and a goldendoodle in a 26′ Class C camper! Camped one night in each location and on the way back, changed plans to hit our favorite beach in North Carolina, the Outer Banks, for a longer stay. The Harry Potter surprise turned out to be more than ever expected, not just for the kids. Two days at that park from opening till closing at 11PM, we hit the same attractions over and over! A magical place. It was as if we were being handed an amazing time, as on our second day we ran into a staff member who authorized us to be first in line for every attraction that day. Was she an angel sent to make sure we had fun?
…i would still be stressing out at a thankless job which, despite my hard-earned M.D. degree, couldn’t accommodate my life. I still wouldn’t have time for the important nourishing things, like creative pursuits, gardening, traveling and outdoor activities. I still wouldn’t have enough time for my children and husband. After punishing myself from my teenage years just to get that degree, pay off the debt incurred and then barely support the family on two incomes, I let it all go. Took a big pay cut and never looked back. I have time now. I still work full time but on my terms.
…i would still be worrying about how we would pay off our mortgage, how we would comfortably retire (with barely any retirement savings at the age of 50), and how we might pay for 4 college educations. Now, because of sarcoid, life seems shorter, the end closer and plans more urgent. My clarity has sharpened and my creativity has heightened. I’ve learned that the answers are all there, waiting to be discovered. Some call it “thinking outside the box”, but I think it’s just that the right moment arrives for all events. One has to have faith.
…my marriage would be ordinary. How beautiful a relationship can become when ill health tests it. I saw a side of my husband that I would have never seen. The countless visits to the ER in the dead of night where he SAT in the chair next to my bed until I was discharged or admitted. On the night that he was headed to his 12 hour overnight shift as a nurse, cleaning patients and bedpans,etc., I called him home urgently 15 minutes after he left the house, preventing him from working that night. I was suddenly and forcefully vomiting uncontrollably for the next 5 hours. He said that never seen anything like it as a nurse. When I was unable to move anymore from the bed, he accommodated me in my bed, stroking my head until it finally passed. We didn’t even understand what was going on back then. Weird health issues of a different nature each time creeping up every couple of months, one having nothing to do with the other. He stood by me relentlessly. My love for him grew as I realized how much he loved me.
…i wouldn’t be taking pains to make sure that the time I spend with my children is quality time. That while I am still this mobile, I capitalize on the time. Despite being bedridden for long periods from the fatigue the disease causes, I want them to know me as vibrant and fun mother, and to erase from their memories my prolonged bedtime stints. We laugh, spend time outdoors and admire the beauty of nature and animals.
…i wouldn’t have learned new crafts, risked remodeling my kitchen as a DIY 2 week project (that turned out amazing) using a $75 kit, and painted the house. I wouldn’t have risked landscaping the front yard (with my strong teen helpers) or getting a second (large) dog.
…finally, I wouldn’t have learned who my true friends really are. The ones who, despite having no clue what to do, stood by in their own special ways, letting me know that they cared. How many of them I was surprised to find!
So, instead of thinking that illness is awful, I feel quite lucky and fortunate. My life has changed for the better, no doubt.
Wishing clarity and insight to all,