Two weeks ago, I contacted one of my friends. I wanted to speak to her about life in general. I wanted to get an unbiased person to speak to. One who is not afraid to “tell it like it is”. I was tired of speaking to family members and my husband. My friend is as raw as they come, unfiltered and blunt. I don’t like hearing the harsh truth sometimes, but sometimes it is needed. In as much as my friend is blunt, she is the kind of person who will give sound encouraging advice. She will not build castles in the air or paint a fantasy.
Perhaps what makes my friend the way she is due to the fact that she has sickle cell anemia. Health-wise, she has her ups and downs (and I mean downs). I remember not too long ago she was hospitalized for a long period of time. She doesn’t let sickle cell define her. She has done quite well for herself academically and has a good career life. She has never let anything falter because of her diagnosis. I admire her so much.
So…I called her and told her about my daughter’s health issues, the crohns scare etc. I told her that nothing makes sense. The test results say one thing, then the next day another. It’s like chasing after the wind. I also told her about my marriage that I felt has been failing. I told her that I feel lost.
She listened intently and provided advice concerning my marriage first. Then she paused and then told me that she understands my daughter’s health struggles. She informed me that growing up, she was frequently hospitalized. In fact, her siblings too were hospitalized as well, I am unsure if her other siblings too have sickle cell. She then said that when she was young, she remembered seeing the neighbor’s kids play and have fun while she was often confined to her bed or in the hospital for treatments. When the eldest of the neighbor’s kids turned 9, one after the other, all became wheelchair bound. No diagnosis, no scientific explanation. 21+ years later, it remains the same. They are all wheelchair bound.
She then told me, tomorrow is not promised and that I should not see the diagnosis as a sentence. She challenged me to do everything to assist my daughter. She then told me how lucky I am that I am not back in Kenya, where there are limited services for kids on the spectrum. Last, she said that I should not lose myself to things around me. I still need to take time for me! I can still hear her words… crystal clear.
I pondered on her words, firstly… I found it profound that I am truly blessed to be in a nation where there are specialized services. I want to be an advocate someday for kids on the spectrum, so I typically spend a lot of time researching, watching videos and listening to webinars. I remember watching a documentary about Autism in Kenya. I honestly cannot imagine what these parents go through, I can’t. I tear up every time I think of their challenges.
This week too, we received news about a promising colleague of mine who resigned. She was truly promising. She was born into a family of doctors. Her mom and dad are both specialists and she went to ivy league schools and was preparing for medicine school. She had an infectious personality and was kind. Almost overnight, she started missing work and eventually took medical leave. She explained in her departure email that she had a sport accident when she was young and now she is dealing with possible delayed repercussions. She has halted everything.
Again, tomorrow is not promised. We are called to do our best, to love unconditionally, to give willingly, help selflessly and I believe…to fight for your purpose relentlessly!
Lord Jesus, help me fight for my daughter relentlessly. Give me strength as I try to help other families in my situation. Help me find a balance in this all so that I do not drown. Then when it all comes to a close and you ask of me what I have done, I hope to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful”