Myths vs Truths
How has each one of us been raised? Each generation may share some similar stories yet as individuals we answer the question with our unique response. The story begins officially for us perhaps once we establish what our first memories are. Like any great story, our lives continue & evolve & we have forks along the way. Undoubtedly there are circumstances along the way that we did not have any influence over. These are the situations that we would not have chosen for ourselves. These are struggles…real struggles. Every single person has struggles. That is the truth. It has been my own philosophy that providing a storyline to others that is the myth that a bubble can be put around ourselves or those that we love is detrimental in indescribable ways.
Do you enjoy marketing trickery? Does anyone? I know I don’t. That is great news therefore to realize early on that the human spirit is not fragile. It is strong beyond measure. When I was growing up there were no “safe spaces” in university, etc & I was therefore exposed to a spectrum of ideas. There was the welcome environment for respectful debate. We do after all live in Canada which is an amazing land of democracy which was the gift of both my grandfathers…one who fought in WWI & the other in WW2. It is my responsibility to remain thankful for this gift of freedom. It is also my chosen responsibility to remember my roots. With this comes the knowledge that every one of us can do difficult things. My husband & I have not raised our sons to believe that life is a fairy tale & that struggles will be outside their bubble of safety. We have gone counterculture to tell our kids that life is filled with joys & struggles in full 3 dimensions. The message we have shared is that the bad news is that everyone that lives will face struggles. The great news is that we can do hard things. We are stronger than each one of us gives ourselves credit for.
Truths are life giving in my experience. Facing reality is a part of being a mature individual. An obvious example is the experience of life with type 1 diabetes. It never made sense to me to put my head in the sand like an ostrich & become diminished by the unwelcome diagnosis. Instead, my position was to fight for the best possible life despite type 1. I have not done that perfectly. Of course there have been some of the most terrifying moments with this disease…close calls & the reality of living with 24-7 reminders of my own mortality. What the hell do you do with that? Here comes the decision point…chose myth or truth…fragility vs strength.
The choices in my experience make all the difference. It is the difference between me throwing in the towel (which feisty me will never do!) or falling down & getting back up. This is not meant to be an empty motivational b.s. session. Life with type 1 sometimes sucks with the weight of the moment to moment health responsibilities that we have & when things go wrong. It is brutally difficult. I don’t wake up to greet an overjoyed unicorn. But, I have been one grateful rascal to wake up every morning since November 29, 2007. On the days that I had to really fight the beast of type 1 I felt beaten down, beaten up but not defeated. My swear jar has swelled to well…2 jars! When we get through those especially hellish days we are reminded that while we may have felt weak, we were in fact fighting the strongest.
We are strong & we need to be strong.
What if I told you that these lessons in strength & the fact that we are strong prepares us potentially for other shitstorms that happen through no fault of our own. (This is not to say that I have not caused some of my own struggles from time to time through my own less than stellar choices) (That is another story) I only include the 2 brackets to say that I am no f’ing victim ever! Okay, back to specifically shit that happens to each one of us through no fault of our own. Type 1 diabetes is at the top of the list! You may have noticed that I have not shared a story in many months. It is not because of Covid 19. It is because I have & continue to fight an additional battle & it is difficult to express how raw these feelings are to me. The last time I posted, it was brief on purpose. I was typing with one hand & was in profound physical pain. I will share the story behind that in all its truth because I can do hard things.
This is difficult. On January 20, 2020 I was running errands on a cold, brilliantly sunny day & then planning to go directly to pick up our youngest son from school. I am a cautious driver by nature. Accordingly, I tend to choose routes that have traffic lights if possible versus stops signs, etc. After completing the grocery shopping, I slowly approached a green light to go straight through. I was driving a tiny Toyota Echo which was instantly totaled when a huge silver GM suburban hit me on the driver’s side just above the door. The huge suv dragged the car (my husband’s then car) around the right corner & then the car came finally to a stop. Many people have said things to me about how I must have been in shock & shit like that. No, there was no going into shock. Instead the gratitude immediately for this miracle to still be alive through the grace of God. Literally a hit 2 seconds later would have resulted in well let’s say me not sitting here typing this. No, I did not go into shock. If you live long enough with the truth, hopefully it is there exactly when you need it…in a life & death situation most especially. All those times I wrung my hands about being taken down by type 1 & for heaven’s sake I was hit by a car! The very first thing that went through my mind was “thank you God, Mother Mary & my Guardian Angel!” The second was, “I forgive the other driver.” The third was, “call my husband quickly to pick up our son from school.” First I had the sense to put the car into park even though it was obviously not going anywhere. It was beside the curb somehow in what I would call a perfect parallel park which I have never done like that on my own. I make no apologies for my faith. I am thankful for the gift of faith that somehow this rascal received as a free gift.
I called my husband & he made it in time to pick our youngest son up from school. Once I knew that our son would have a ride the physical pain on the left side of my body hit like a massive wave. I called 911 & made sure that I told them that I have type 1 diabetes. The ems ambulance heroes were a blessing. They thankfully had a thorough understanding of type 1 & noticed I was independantly continuing to monitor my own glucose. While I waited for ems, I checked my sensor readings & noticed that my blood sugars were in range until 30 minutes after the car accident. Then my blood sugars kept rising even with corrections. My body had been traumatized so it made sense but it was like looking after a toddler (the toddler of type 1 high blood sugars) while waiting in emergency.
As I sat in the waiting room feeling quite shaken up, I noticed the tv above with the headlines that kept scrolling…that day was “blue Monday” the day the news stated was the day people tended to feel the most down in the dumps. Perhaps that could be a reason that I had the misfortune to come in contact with health care workers at the hospital that were nasty & uncompassinate.(who I usually sing the praises of) . There was simply no empathy whatsoever & that sucked. The xray tech was beyond cruel when she became angry with me for having my glucose sensor on the arm she needed to xray! She told me off about me needing to learn not to wear tech in xray. Wow, as if I could have planned to have peeled the sensor off prior to being hit by a car!
Thankfully my husband arrived about an hour after I was in the hospital. Unfortunately for me the doctor misdiagnosed me with muscle pull on my left shoulder. I went home & sat in a chair all night in excruciating pain. At noon the next day, the hospital called & said that the radiologist had taken a look at my x ray & said that I should come back into the hospital & get another x ray as on the corner of the scan it looked like a broken bone. No shit Sherlock! (my thoughts as it seemed like bullshit that a muscle pull would hurt like that). Back in through the waiting room in triage, then into x ray after about an hour, then another 4 hour wait to see a doctor I went. Yes, my swear jar was full although I did not say any of what I was thinking out loud at the hospital. Thankfully, the day after “blue Monday” had more compassionate team of health professionals on shift at the hospital. I was & am thankful for that. Sure enough, my left shoulder bone was broken so I got a sling & an appointment for the following week to see an orthopedic surgeon. To make a long story short, thankfully at least I did not need surgery but my shoulder is still not up to par & hurts some days worse than others. It is a work in progress & that is life. It was cool to hear from the specialist that once the break healed the bone would be stronger than before. That was great to know. So you can go through trauma & come out stronger. Yes, that sounds right for me at least.
Here’s the other part that is in progress & that is the emotional piece of healing from the inescapable knowledge that I need to continue to be grateful to be alive. Every morning since the accident it has been easy to say with total gratitude, “thank you Lord, Mother Mary & Guardian Angel.” I hope I never neglect to say this short but fervent prayer each & every day that I have the gift of waking up. The truth is that life can be really difficult yet indescribably embraced as a gift. I don’t mean that I embrace the difficulty. Instead, I am grateful that strength can mean receiving the grace to face whatever comes my way. I am strong yet not because of me. I receive the grace for strength & I have needed a lot of strength. Currently, I am reading 2 books in the attempt to jump over the hurdle of the extreme panic & fear that surrounds me when I even open up our garage door let alone approach the car.
I will get in though in time behind the driver’s seat again. That time is not yet here i have learned over & over again. Just reading the books causes me to have panic attacks, shortness of breath, clammy hands & a feeling like I am going to pass out. I read it in small snippets however I will continue to get through this shitstorm. I will not allow this car accident to define me or defeat me…I am struggling emotionally with it without a doubt but I can do hard things. I will do hard things. We all do hard things. The truth is that the story continues. My story started long before I was born. My roots teach me that I come from a profoundly strong family. That make me one thankful rascal. Both of my grandfathers fought in the hell of the world wars & so often I think of this as I keep my feet planted in truth. They & other brave soldiers fought the truly hellish wars to give us strength and freedom to choose to grow in strength from our struggles. Roots matter, truth matters, strength matters. These are all gifts that I embrace.
It will be a joy when the day comes for me to sit down at this keyboard again & write that I have taken my first car drive since January 20th. I will do it. It will happen only because I know where the strength comes from & have trust that even a rascal like me receives the gift of strength when it is needed most. Meanwhile, I am okay in not being completely okay. I am here against the odds. And all I can merely say is “thank-you!”
My heart’s hope is that you always know the strength and hope that is there for you always. The truth is that we are strong beyond measure. We are strong even when we don’t feel like we are. We can be shaken & even experience a myriad of feelings of brokenness. Like a broken bone we can heal & emerge even stronger. Stay rooted in that truth.
The next sharing will be after I take the first maiden drive behind the wheel of our one remaining vehicle! The thought of it causes me to feel scared shitless. (But I can do difficult shit) Despite that, yes, I can do another hard thing. We all can.