Alas, we are nearly tied for dead last, and midnight tonight marks the end of the voting. Without a miracle of Lazarusarian (is that a word??) proportions, it looks like being finalists in the contest will just have to do.
That is perfectly all right with me, to tell the truth. The whole thing has been a delightful surprise and a great honor.
Still, I decided to check out the patient blog that blew us – and frankly, all the other finalists – right out of the water with a whopping 46 percent of the votes. It’s Wheelchair Kamikaze, written by Marc, a 46-year-old New Yorker. He has Primary
Progressive Multiple Scleroris, and after several years during which the disease whittled away at his healthy body, he now approaches his daily life sitting down, seeing the world (and videotaping it) from the seat of a wheelchair, and blogging about it. He has not gone into this change gently, however (the blog title “Wheelchair Kamikaze” might be a hint…). Instead, Marc approaches his life and the disease that has altered it so drastically head-on and at full speed, with the kind of courage and attitude that most of us can only strive for.
Here’s an example of his thinking; he’s writing about his beloved Labrador retriever Stella, who after a long and ultimately incurable illness, died a few years ago:
“Stella didn’t waste any time bemoaning her fate, or thinking about what might have been, because she was blessed to not have the capacity to do so. As my condition has continued to worsen, I’ve often thought of Stella, and have realized just how right she had it. Feeling sorry for yourself or worrying about future calamity only serve to poison the present, and the present, the now, and our place in it, is the only thing in the entire universe that we have any real control over. Endeavor to live your life like a Labrador, attack each day like it’s a great big Rawhide bone sent from heaven.”
Please go visit his blog and see for yourself what an undaunted spirit looks like.
One of the links on his blog brought me to another, Healing Through Multiple Sclerosis. Cathy Aten is an artist from Santa Fe, NM, who was diagnosed in 2000 with the
disease. Her life, too, has been drastically changed. But she’s another one who chooses to simply get on with things, but not without doing a lot of thinking about life and the way we choose to live it:
“That line between the fight and taking the gloves off is a sensitive one.
I don’t want to neglect doing anything that offers support toward healing.
But working too hard toward a desired outcome is exhausting and leaves room for only narrow results.
Miracles happen when our vision gets a little fuzzy so something beyond what we know can sneak in and take it’s place at the table.”
Cathy has posted a video about her MS and how she deals with it; at one moment, she talks about “softening into humility.” The words struck me, made me stop for a moment and think about all they implied. It was one of those breathtaking moments. The words, typewritten, seem almost harsh, but harshness is far from what they mean from her perspective as an artist and human being. Please visit her blog, too. Read her words. Watch her video.
Reading the words of others who deal with their daily disability and pain with courage and grace puts my own problems into a sort of profound perspective and gives me more fortitude with which to deal with them. We can all use a little inspiration.
And the smiles are free.