An example of an unexpected crisis: the car broke down so my nephew & I sat in my wheelchair in a ditch waiting for help
Go into a health situation knowing that you’re likely to encounter some unexpected obstacles. One phrase I learned from a church message that really sticks with me is to “Expect Crisis.” This is not to say that you should be negative. Rather, enter experiences, health and otherwise, with a positive outlook, but be aware that circumstances can change quickly. Then you’re better equipped to deal with difficulties that surface.
The “Expect Crisis” idea applies to ALL areas of your life: health, relationships with other people and so on. Just because a person loves God and follows His Word doesn’t mean the individual will live a life absent of difficult situations. Following God means that you have Him to turn to for strength, wisdom and guidance to help you endure hardships. You can’t always anticipate what’s going to happen next, but at least you can be prepared that the unknown is right around the corner by expecting a potential crisis. I guess what I’m trying to say is expect crisis – BUT don’t let crises push you down – so that you can handle problems better when they inevitably arise.
I’m the monkey in the middle doing a headstand – I was very athletic when I was diagnosed with cancer at age 13.
“The reason your body survived all of the cancer treatment is because you were so athletic when you were diagnosed,” a doctor informed me.
It’s a very good thing I was strong and athletic when I was diagnosed with leukemia in 1997, because my body could withstand the onslaught of intense toxic drugs. Activities and sports that kept me on my feet were basketball, soccer, swimming, rollerblading, running, riding my bike, and obviously “artistic headstands” like in this picture.
Nowadays, I regularly lift small weights and ride my recumbent exercise bike. I love to pedal for twenty-five minutes to the sounds of a favorite CD. It pays to stay ACTIVE!
The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or somethin in between, this earth ain’t no final restin place. So in a way, we is all homeless – workin our way toward home.”
– Denver Moore in “Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, An International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman who Bound Them Together”
“You used to have hair but now you don’t.”
“I guess God decided I shouldn’t have hair,” I replied to my 3-year-old nephew Max. He was staring, like he often does in my room, at a picture of me on a boat in Hawaii at age 14 with a thick full head of hair. It was growing back a few months after my first three rounds of chemotherapy. “That’s part of God’s plan for me.”
A scene similar to this repeats itself every week or so, with Max always observing aloud how I used to have hair atop my now-forever-locks-less scalp.
But I suppose my simple replies like “I shave it off” or “I like it this way” or my recent response bringing God in the mix, now fail to satisfy the incessantly curious thinker.
Max apparently knew just what to do in order to fix what he sweetly interpreted as my lack-of-a-mop-on-top dilemma. If only all solutions in life can be arrived at by simply informing our Maker of our (supposedly) desired result.
As he gazed again towards the wall to the right of my bed with a framed shot of me smiling with short light brown hair, I was on the receiving end of some rather brilliant and virtuous advice.
“You have to tell Jesus you have to get all your hair back.”
This is the picture in the story that Max talks about.
Mike was a favorite nurse.
The University of Michigan Hospital is a teaching hospital. This means that your doctors are often accompanied by watchful no-names who stand mysteriously inside the door and noiselessly stare at you. You don’t know what they’re thinking or their name, and that’s just weird. A total stranger (or sometimes a few) has entered your room. When this happens, break down the silent barriers and ease needless escalating tension by asking the person their name and what they do in the hospital.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2
. . . And for the strength to get through everything during the hardest eight years of my life I give thanks and praise to God Almighty.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
It’s true what they say: If you wait long enough, it’s bound to come back in style.
First Time Losing My Hair at age 13
Wild Unruly “Chemo Curl” – After having blond straight hair my whole life, my hair grew back like this after my first three rounds of chemo. (Other kids in high school asked me if I was on the swim team because I styled my head of duck fluff with cheap mousse from the local drug store, which made my ‘do always look wet. What’s a girl to do?)
My Second Home: U of M Mott Children Hospital’s pediatric cancer floor 7West
I’m doing Hydrotherapy (with the unexpected comical company of my little friend) at home in hopes of helping damaged joints. Due to cranial radiation hitting the center of my skull, my hair only grows in sparsely around the sides if I don’t regularly shave my head.
And here we are again. Four relapses, two unrelated bone marrow transplants, and 16 years later. At last.