If You Can’t See the Good, Make the Good

             Okay guys, this is not a political blog so this will not be about politics, but I am acknowledging the many whose lives have been torn apart recently due to aforementioned politics. I feel you, don’t give up. These past couple months have been very challenging for me and friends due to health, losses, and overall “bad stuff”. Despite it all, we find ways to carry on. We find new ways of being okay, we accept the pain and the hurt and we find new reasons to live. Sometimes it just has to be enough that in this very moment you agree to hold on through the next. It is okay to not be okay. Sometimes it is enough to hold on to the belief that life in and of itself is valuable, even when you can’t formulate a reason for things. And if your me, sometimes you hold on to a lesson in a book or movie, holding on to the belief it is true.
         The title of this blog comes from an amazing young boy who, unfortunately, lost his 10 year battle with a rare disease. Anyone who knew him knew that despite 80+ surgeries, near constant hospitalizations, daily pain, and 2 failed marrow transplants, he loved his life. He dedicated his life to others and never complained. One of his catchphrases was, “if you can’t see the good, make the good”. I am so very thankful to have had the pleasure of knowing him, even if it was ever so brief. Irrational as it is, one of the hardest things about losing him was dealing with the feelings of why him and not me. I feel like he had so much more to offer the world, though I know he is home now. I will do my best to spread love and light the way you taught me, you are missed. Thank you to all my friends and family who have supported me through this time.

“‘Yes, thats’ so,’ said Sam. ‘And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I supposed it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories wen and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually — their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on — and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same — like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?'”
-J.R.R. Tolkien
 And that, my friends, is why Samwise Gamgee will always be the best. That and…

And that’s all I have to say about that…

Top 5 Things I’ve learned through the hard way and internet quotes

1) “Nothing in this world worth having comes easy.” – Dr. Bob Kelso
      In one of my all time favorite scrubs quotes, Bob Kelso dishes out some serious sass as well as important advice. This has made its way up the list of favorites, especially in the past couple years. Life is precious, but hard. That being said, don’t confuse between struggling and a bad life. When I graduated high school, I believed I would go to the college I was accepted to for four years, get my nursing degree, work some long hospital shifts, fall in love, settle down and keep living…just like everyone else. After all, I had gone from elementary school, to middle school, to high school… college was obviously the next step. A year later I went to move into my dorm sophomore year with the friends I made and the dorm I wanted, and a shiny 4.0 GPA (still baffles me) when I got a call from my doctor who strongly recommended I come back home for treatment. Sad, angry, disappointed and confused we packed my stuff back up and moved out (RA was so confused). I finished my vacation with my family then drove back up home with my mom. As we pulled into the driveway I remember wanting to put on my invisibility cloak and run into the house, hiding for the possibility of seeing a confused neighbors look or prodding questions. The next couple weeks I threw a major pity party and honestly felt ashamed and like a failure. All my friends were surely having a great time off at college, living it up carefree. This linear path I had drawn out perfectly straight and parallel had been erased. It took me a year of treatment, online class at community college, and bitterly scrolling through my newsfeed before I drew up a new path: a new school, new friends, and a new major. Then something really cool happened. I started to open up about my struggles, my frustration, and my change in direction, and so did other people around me. Turns out my friend had transferred colleges too and another one decided last minute to work instead. So guys, don’t worry… life isn’t linear and it sure as hell ain’t simple.

2) “Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss
        I think all of us at some point in our lives have learned this one the hard way. That time with your grandma you spent with your mind elsewhere and it turned out to be your last. That joy of holiday traditions you no longer do because xyz. That time you ended a relationship over something stupid. Realizing that some of the moments you can cherish forever are smiles on faces or making up crazy animal combos with a friend (schwogfry for life). We are not guaranteed this day, nor this hour. Remind yourself of the beauty and love that surrounds you each and every day.
3) “Be at peace, not in pieces.” 
      Despite being an awesome pun, this is one of my go to catchphrases in times of trouble. I like control… most of us do, and whenever I feel I’m losing control this is a solid go to. I come from a long line of very anxious people and believe me when I tell you, it takes its toll. Just remember it’s okay to accept your not in control or need help.
4) “Health is a crown that the healthy wear, but only the sick can see.” -Imam Shafi’i
5) “Be kind, everyone you know is fighting their own battles.” 
     Similar to #1 and I posted about this before but I needed reminders to myself all the time. People are different and that’s okay. We grow and expand as humans by beings around people who are different than us. You don’t have to agree or concede or even argue. 
Well, my fingers already hate me, I promised my brother I would get back to blogging (taadah!) so I’ll be trying to post some more stuff more frequently including a health update because I know a lot of y’all have asked. 
Happy holidays!

An Open Letter to my Caregivers and Friends

Dear lovely humans,
    There are a couple things I want to tell you, remind you, or just share with you. First off, thanks. I know I’m not always easy to be around, or to care for, or to love. Now you may try to make the point that no one is an you would probably be right. It is hard for me to accept help and cope with not being able to do the things I used to or should be able to do at my fruitful age of 20. Its hard to watch my peers doing things that seem so out of reach. Its hard to live in a society that values productivity when your accomplishment of the day is getting out of bed.
     So thank you. Thank you for coming up with ways to make me feel useful even when I can’t get out of bed. Thank you staying home with me and watching a movie even though it seems like thats all we every do. Thank you for spending hours researching my conditions just so you can understand my world. Thank you for respecting when I want to be alone. Or when I cancel plans for the 1,000th time. Or when I go into a communication dead-zone. Thank you for sitting with me in the middle of a public place when I get a dizzy spell so I don’t look stupid. Thank you for standing up, and speaking up for me when I couldn’t. Thank you for spending countless hours in doctors offices, ERs, and hospitals. Thank you for being patient.
      Apologies are also called for. I’m sorry for lashing out when I’ve had a bad day. I’m sorry for being unpredictable. I’m sorry for the days when the illness takes over. I’m sorry I can’t be your partner in crime for hikes or horror movies anymore. I’m sorry for the middle of the night panics, the scary calls from EMS saying they’re taking me to the hospital but can’t tell you why. I’m sorry for causing you pain when bad things happen. I’m sorry sometimes I live in my own world.
      Thank you for helping me get through the deep valleys of depression and isolation. Thank you for being there to help me celebrate my accomplishments and joys. I am constantly amazed by the unconditional love and support you guys show me (except you mom, that’s in your job description).