Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Power of We

My team of WE (not including my parents)
Today was an interesting day. I went into it begrudgingly because I had to do something I didn't wan
t to do, but I gave myself an attitude adjustment on the way, which gave me permission to take a step back to learn something new.

There are so many thoughts and discoveries to process from today, but I'm going to focus on the one thing that is freshest on the mind at this ripe hour of 10:00 pm. I should first mention that this discovery came while watching the last two episodes of Parenthood this evening at my friend's house. TV is one of those phenomenons in life that has increasingly taken over simple evening chatter with friends, that perhaps used to be focused on the happenings of the day. Call this escapism, or what you will, but know that sometimes the biggest lessons come from those escapes.

If you have been following along this blog for the past couple of weeks, you likely know that I am in my month of no MS. I have been 90% successful, but the reality is, I'm learning that I will never get a 100% free month because there are doctor appointments that need to be scheduled, shots that need to be remembered AND taken, and medicine that needs to be picked up from the pharmacy, just to name a few realities. However, on the obsessing front, I've been pretty good. I've only made a couple of jokes and my friend here in cbus has given me permission to talk when she can see that I am having an internal struggle that necessitates a few sentence rant.

Anyway, back to Parenthood... If you watch the show, you know about the family's supportive nature, but what you also get to see is how people can all react differently to the same situation. One of the most recent struggles on the show involves the dad needing heart surgery and all of the children have different struggles with the potential loss of their father, but what really impacted me was the interaction between the father and his daughter-in-law. Zeek (dad) and the daughter in law both have experienced significant health crisis throughout the course of the show. Tonight they bonded over the fact that they couldn't stand how their supporters would say WE will get through this, WE will figure this out, WE so on and so forth. This discussion was very interesting because I oddly find comfort in the exact opposite, and can certainly appreciate why the supporters are compelled to use the word we when addressing the issue of a health problem.

The fact of the matter is I know that I can use all the support I can get, and when someone says WE when talking about one of my problems, it makes me feel less of the weight. I, in fact, love when people say 'we' and thrive on knowing they are there. For example, I know I will never have to face a brain doctor appointment alone because 'we' will go and take in all the information, and 'we' will process that information in a positive way. I also know that 'we' will deal with the emotional challenges, and 'we' will figure out the finances, and 'we' will find a treatment that will work for the side effects. This is a true testement to my friends and family. They give me the gift of WE every time they use the term.

For those of you who may be out there struggling with people saying we when you are the person who has to physically and emotionally deal with a chronic disease, I want to remind you of something very important. People may be saying 'we' so that you don't feel alone, but more importantly, the people who are by your side are also struggling and may be having an emotional reaction. Because we are in the situation together, albeit from different positions in the doctor's office, if we are lucky, we are surrounded by people who are willing to take on the new information with us. Embrace the WE and let people lift you up with their love in the way they know how, and guide them to enhance that support by teaching them what you might need.

Afterall, WE are lucky to have the love and support, and that is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned from MS.

Next week, watch out for another post about my discoveries from today!

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