Happy Positivity Day!

Today is Friday the 13th, a day some people truly dread. For others, these unlucky Fridays provide a whimsical excuse for all that goes wrong. April was the most recent time a Friday fell on the thirteenth. When I shared some thoughts about it, I received a comment by this writer suggesting that every Friday the 13th should be considered “simple life day.” I loved the idea.

But I’ve changed my mind.

Today, I declare that Friday the 13th henceforth will be known as “Positivity Day.”

There. It’s official, at least, in my world.

I have good reason to choose this new designation. One month ago, on an unlucky Wednesday, a family member called to say she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was too early to reveal her identity, but now I’ll tell you that it was Mary Beth, my only sister, my confidante, my beautiful, talented, caring, spirited, chronic illness warrior partner.

It was the second time a brain tumor crashed into my world. The first time, it was Matthew, my 11-year old son, who was no longer my “Little Einstein, or my “gazelle,” and we couldn’t figure out why until a brain scan revealed the problem.

There are so many similarities in Mary Beth’s and Matthew’s stories, it’s eerie. “Surreal,” my sister and I kept saying on the phone.

My sister’s tumor, a benign meningioma the size of an orange, was removed in a nine hour surgery. Last week, I flew out to spend time with her, and saw first-hand that she is doing amazingly well. Amazing as in, less than a month post-surgery, Mary Beth is feeling and functioning better than at any time in the past five years when her journey of pain and weakness began.

Matthew’s recovery was not so dramatic, but equally amazing. At 32, he manages his independent life better than many older, wiser adults. If you didn’t know what he’s been through, you’d never suspect what he’s been through. My memoir, in progress, tells of my struggle to parent Matthew through his challenges, a struggle that exposed the depth of my personal weaknesses. A perfect life could never have taught me so much.

My own brain still struggles to wrap itself around this recent brain tumor surprise. There are life lessons hiding in it, yet to be discovered. With time, I’ll find them and work them into my writing. I have to get back to work on my memoir manuscript. It has a new chapter. Or perhaps a sequel, as my sister suggested.

Today, I’m going to find positivity in everything. Already, the day is exploding with examples: the sky is blue, the sun bright, the AC ready for the afternoon’s humidity. My Rose of Sharon shrubs have popped with pink and purple flowers, the white balls of blooms on my hydrangea are bigger than my head. My coffee was perfect this morning, and I’m sitting in my PJs tapping away in my quiet, cool dining room. Matthew will be stopping by this weekend to visit, and Mary Beth texted this morning to say she is full of joy.

It’s working! Positivity reigns!

 

If you find positivity in an unusual place today, or any day, please share it with me! You just might nudge another reader (or me) toward the same discovery.  

 

 

 

 

Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Day X.

Yesterday, I was so busy enjoying Mothers Day, I forgot to write a daily post, which ruined my perfect record so far this month. Now I don’t know what to call this day, so I’ve dubbed it “Day X.”

The truth is, I didn’t enjoy all of Mother’s Day.

I enjoyed when my son Matt came over to visit. What a simple gift– just to be with him. You don’t take that stuff for granted when you’ve rumbled with a brain tumor like my family has.

I didn’t enjoy that my chronic health issues again caused me to cancel our plans to go out.

I enjoyed talking with my other son Steve, and my mom, on the phone,

I enjoyed when my husband salvaged the day by cooking dinner on the grill, while I plopped down on a lawn chair in the beautiful sun with a glass of wine and a book.

That’s life. Ups and downs and sideways and flip-flops.

Since life is that way, today I decided I have to break my commitment to daily posts.

I hate doing it. I hate setting a goal and then reneging. I wish I didn’t go public, that I had kept my intentions to myself.

But managing my health conditions and finishing my memoir manuscript are higher priorities than daily posting, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all.

Sometimes it takes more courage to quit than it does to soldier on, even though quitting still feels like crap. (Although I have a feeling as soon as I hit “publish,” I’ll feel relieved.)

There were so many other things I wanted tell you this month about how a brain tumor impacted my life. I’ll get to them eventually, just not as quickly as I had hoped.

And if I leave anything out, well, you’ll just have to buy my book.

 

My goal for Brain Tumor Awareness Month.

I don’t set writing goals like other writers, some of whom shoot for daily or monthly word counts, or to finish a chapter, or to post on their website or social media daily. 

I don’t set those goals because I never know how many hours in a day, if any, I’ll be able to write. My health challenges determine the course of my day.

But today, I changed my mind. I’m setting a goal in recognition of May as Brain Tumor Awareness Month. 

My goal this month is to post on my website daily, and then share it to my social media accounts. I started one day late, so that will be 30 consecutive posts. Yikes! Writers and bloggers do this all the time, but for me it’s a hurdle.

I do this in honor of Matt, my son who lives every day with a brain tumor, diagnosed when he was 11. Now, at 31, he’s doing great, but he’s faced more pain and discomfort, emotional and physical, than I face now, so I can certainly manage a daily post.

Life is full of hurdles to overcome. Mine pales in comparison to so many others’. 

If you face a hurdle, especially an extended one, my wish for you:

One step forward today,

One more pain free minute or hour today than you had yesterday,

One more moment of peace than usual.

One inch higher to clearing that hurdle, feeling it beneath and behind you.

Here’s to you, Matt, with endless love and admiration.