By Carla Schick
During the three years that I’ve worked for IG Living, I have had the opportunity to speak with many of you in the PIDD and neuropathy communities. Your knack for embracing life’s experiences with courage and resilience in the face of adversity is both humbling and inspiring.
Reflecting on this made me think of a time when I felt especially courageous and decided to try a new experience. I was on top of the world. Okay, it was only 8,000 feet, but to me, it was the top. The location: Snow Summit Mountain in Big Bear Lake, Calif. Beauty personified.
So there I stood, set firmly in my skis with a pole in each hand, at the top of The Wall, a double-black diamond run created for the experts. I should mention that I had my first ski lesson the day before, so “expert” probably isn’t the word I would have used to describe myself at that moment. It was 25 degrees and a stunning December afternoon. The sky was cobalt and clear, and 1,200 feet below, Big Bear Lake was gleaming. Soft bristly pine trees peopled the slopes and the snow was fresh powder. This was going to be a good run.
I took a deep breath, and with a couple of quick pushes with my ski poles, I was off.
Leaning forward and barreling down The Wall at 30 mph, ski poles dangling at my wrists, the wind tousling my hair, I didn’t have a care in the world. This new experience made me feel confident and relaxed. With nothing but fresh powder beneath my skis and beautiful Big Bear Lake in front of me, I felt courageous. My mind was clear and the only thing that was going to stop me physically was a tree, but since I was avoiding those quite nicely, I was golden.
This fond recollection left me feeling humbled because I know that many of you must contend with your physical limitations. And you do it with grace and courage. Instead of simply resigning yourselves to your illness, many readers have managed to embrace life and try new experiences. For example, a young man who was profiled in one of our blogs, told us that he felt especially good after one of his IVIG infusions, so he decided to be adventurous and try zip lining (mind you, he is 17). Another intrepid reader demonstrates his love for life’s experiences by traveling extensively with his wife, as well as keeping up with his woodworking hobby. I also know that many of you relish the idea of being able to escape into your favorite music album or movie.
Even with physical limitations, new experiences are everywhere, if you know where to look. Think of things that you can do while having your infusion. Can you try something new? Aim to learn a new language or pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. How about after your infusion? I know that many readers find it difficult to leave the house because post-infusion side effects can be limiting, so that might be the perfect opportunity to try something new, like testing out a recipe or learning to paint. And, of course, you can always sit down for a couple of hours and try to figure out how your Android phone works.
Along with a chronic illness comes “trees” that must be avoided: side effects, being misunderstood, physical limitations. What “trees” have you avoided in order to embrace life? How have you demonstrated your resilience and courage, despite your illness?
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