“Illness can be an invitation to become a deeper,
stronger, wiser, more kick-ass you.”
- From Chronic Resilience by Danea Horn
I’m re-reading Danea Horn’s book because I need help in making it through my days.
We recently took our summer trip. Three days and two nights in Santa Barbara. And we explored the Santa Barbara Zoo for the first time. I had been told that the Zoo was beautiful, reminiscent of a large park that just also happened to include wild animals. And it was.
But even though it was smaller than our L.A. Zoo, I still struggled. There were still many inclines for me to climb. Lines for me to stand in (we waited in line for thirty minutes for Ryan’s turn to feed Michael the giraffe.) And our time at the zoo wore me out.
We got back to our hotel, and I plopped onto the couch. And even though my pedometer didn’t register an obscene amount of steps, a day at the zoo just isn’t something I can comfortably do any more. I’m forced to admit that my legs just aren’t as strong as they once were. I asked Ryan how his seven-year-old legs felt. He was only mildly tired. It was only Mommy, with her “boo-boo leg,” that was suffering.
And after getting wiped out from our day at the zoo, my mind went on fast-forward wondering how I will handle future “big” trips? We talk of someday returning to Hawaii (we were there for our honeymoon in 1999) and Paris (we were there in 2005). How will I manage on those trips? And it’s those thoughts that wear me out and wear me down.
I’ve had difficulties and challenges before. I used to rely on public transportation. I used to take six buses a day to get me back and forth to Cal State Northridge so I could earn my Bachelor’s degree. But I knew I wouldn’t always be enduring that commute.
I was pregnant. I handled my contractions and experienced the pains of childbirth (without anesthesia). But I also knew there was an end in sight. I knew there was a final outcome I was working toward. I knew I would be rewarded with the birth of my son.
With this autoimmune disease, I don’t know when, or if, it will end. I don’t know what the final outcome will be. But I like Danea Horn’s words, that this illness will somehow serve as an opportunity for me to become a “deeper, stronger, wiser, more kick-ass” me. I don’t know how it will happen. But I like the idea of it happening, and for now that’s enough.