Thursday, November 17, 2016

Lucky 13

November 17 probably just seems like an ordinary day to most people, but for me, this date holds an extreme amount of significance, since that was the day when my life changed in a monumental way. The day I was transformed, physically, and reborn, spiritually. My life was changed in a split second, and has turned out very differently than I ever would have expected. My new life hasn't been a cakewalk, but it's been much better than you might think.

The two feelings/emotions that I've felt most deeply over the past 13 years are quite different from each other: disappointment and joy.

The Disappointment:
What happened to me at the young age of 19 was really so sad. Just as I was emerging into the adult world, I was struck down and thrust into a life of extreme disability. [I wonder if anyone ever thinks about what that would've been like, or would be like. If you've never given it any thought, think about it for a minute, just to give yourself an idea of how difficult it would be.] If being disabled was all you had ever known, it would be much easier, in my opinion, than to have known what it was like to be "normal," only to suddenly find yourself being anything but normal, physically, while at the same time still being the same person you always were, mentally and emotionally. It's an extremely difficult transition.

After my accident, my biggest hopes and dreams for the future were no longer attainable. My dreams were snuffed out, just like that. Finishing nursing school/working as a nurse? That was over just as it was beginning. Marriage? Still possible, but not likely. Children? Nope. There were so many things I wanted to do and experience in life that I would now never be able to do. Even small, insignificant things like doing my own hair and makeup, or dressing in the kinds of clothes I liked were no longer possible. There has been so much to be disappointed about, and I know the disappointment could overwhelm and consume me, if I let it (which I won't).

The Joy:
Despite the tragedy of the situation, I've been able to make some refreshing lemonade out of the lemons life has thrown my way. I give all the credit to God, though, since He has given me the gift of joy that has allowed me to press forward with positivity.

Psalm 30:5 says, "... weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." I know that my physical situation is only temporary. I'm sure my paralysis will last the rest of my life, but in the grand scheme of things, mortality is actually very brief. I just need to put "mind over matter" and keep pressing forward. After all, as Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." If I live a good life, I know God will reward me and compensate me for everything I've had to give up or go without. Anything is bearable for a little while, especially if you know there are good things in store.

I feel very lucky to be alive, happy and doing as well as I am. 🌷

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


I finished reading the book "Ugly" a couple weeks ago. This is a true story, written by Robert Hoge. My mom heard about this book a few months ago and was interested in reading it, so I bought it for her for her birthday, and we read it together. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

When Robert Hoge was born, he had a tumor the size of a tennis ball in the middle of his face and short, twisted legs. Surgeons removed the tumor and made him a new nose from one of his toes.  Amazingly, he survived—with a face that would never be the same.  

Strangers stared at him. Kids called him names, and adults could be cruel, too. Everybody seemed to agree that he was “ugly.” But Robert refused to let his face define him. He played pranks, got into trouble, had adventures with his big family, and finally found a sport that was perfect for him to play. And Robert came face to face with the biggest decision of his life, he followed his heart.

This poignant memoir about overcoming bullying and thriving with disabilities shows that what makes us “ugly” also makes us who we are. 

The book was really good! It was written for adults, but is simple enough for adolescents to understand. I think it would be a great book for middle schoolers to read, just to give them some perspective on what it's like to be different, and how much unkind words and bullying can hurt.

Below is a picture of Robert as an infant, and below that is a picture of Robert and his parents after one of his surgeries:
And this is Robert today. When the doctors wanted to give Robert another surgery to make his face look even more "normal," he said, "Thanks, but no thanks," and opted to not have the surgery. He basically said that if people can't accept him with the way he looks, then that is their problem. I have to give him respect; I'm pretty sure I'd get the surgery! I guess I'm just more vain, and would want to look as normal as I could.
My one disappointment with the book is that it didn't include how Robert met his wife (their little family is pictured above). I'm so glad that Robert could find someone that was able to accept him the way he isnot everyone would—so his wife sounds like a great woman.

This book definitely helps you realize that it's important to be kind to everyone, especially those who are different. They are still people and deserve respect, even if their exterior isn't quite normal.
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