I’ve recently begun reading Barbara Abercrombie’s Writing Out the Storm - Reading and Writing Your Way Through Serious Illness or Injury. I’ve taken a few of her classes through the UCLA Extension Writing Program. She’s everything a good teacher should be - honest, funny, encouraging, and supportive.
I turned to this book because I need help navigating this “autoimmune disease” of mine. I don’t know how to function sometimes. I don’t know how to keep going through my day as teacher and mommy, wife and daughter, never certain when the pain will hit and I’ll be reduced to tears (sometimes while I’m driving, sometimes during dinner, sometimes while I’m doing puzzles with my son, sometimes before I go to sleep.)
This book was inspired by Barbara’s journey with breast cancer. On the day of her biopsy, she decides to pray. Not to pray for a “cancer-free verdict” but to pray for “courage.” Her rationale was if she had cancer, she had it. It was a little too late to pray for it not to be there.
I’ve prayed. Prayed that nothing life-threatening would reveal itself on a blood test. Prayed that no malignant lump or tumor would show itself on a scan. Prayed that nothing would prematurely rob me of time with my son. Thank the heavens, those prayers have been answered. But I’m not cured. And as my doctor told me during my last appointment, I’m not responding to medication the way he had hoped.
Maybe I’ve been praying for the wrong thing. Courage is what I need now. I obviously can’t make this disease go away. I can’t change the past year-and-a-half, and I certainly can’t predict the next year and-a-half. Whatever this is, and however it plays out in my body, all I can do is try to handle it. With more courage.