My Seventh Anniversary…with Gratitude

Seven years ago today Dr. Liar changed the course of my life in a matter of seconds when he hit my spinal cord during what should have been a routine surgery to repair a herniated disc. And while I have done a lot of complaining and whining since that time, on the ‘anniversary’ of my injury, I am doing things differently. This year I am writing about the things I have learned since I woke up in the recovery room and realized something wasn’t quite right. Good, bad or indifferent…it has taken me seven years to see the positive side of this life-altering event. While I will most likely live with the physical pain and many of the emotional scars still remain, there are parts of my pre-injured life I miss. However, I have made peace with what occurred and realize I may not have learned the following things if my life had not ventured off course. Therefore, today, with gratitude, I thank God for teaching me these lessons and for bearing with me during the times I questioned my faith, His plans and the thousands of times I asked why me.

The following are in no particular order and many I have written more extensively about in previous posts. If so, I have included the title and date of the post. Since this is the seventh ‘anniversary’ of my injury…I have included seven lessons although I could have written many, many more.

–“Live your life from your heart. Share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal people’s souls.” Melody Beattie. This lovely quote came from a dear friend from high school and has stuck with me. I thought when I woke from surgery and couldn’t feel my right side my life was over. What took a long time for me to learn is God had other plans. I wasn’t supposed to be going to an office each day. It was God’s plan to slow down my life, learn to appreciate each day and to help others.  On February 8, 2011, I created and posted my first blog. It wasn’t an idea I had given a lot of thought. It was one of those ‘things’ that came to me and didn’t leave me alone until I followed though. I like to think of it as a whisper from God. However, what I thought was going to be mostly therapeutic for me has ended up helping others as well and at the same time I have met some wonderful new friends, learned more about spinal cord injury and has far exceeded numbers for a blog. In fact, I am exploring my options of turning it into an electronic book later this year thanks to you, the readers.  A Year of Blogging: Helping Others and Me, Posted February, 1, 2012.

–“Just because you are hurt doesn’t mean you are broken.” Dolphin Tail. Little did I know a book and a movie about a dolphin would teach me so much about my injury and about life. Many of us walk around with injuries either physical or emotional and no one ever knows how far-reaching that pain extends. Whether pain shows or doesn’t, it pays to be kind to one another. There is a wonderful song by Sawyer Brown, They Don’t Understand, the chorus is “Everybody’s busy with their own situation, Everybody’s lost in their own little world, Bottled up, hurry it up, trying to make a dream come true, (They don’t understand), Everybody’s living like there ain’t no tomorrow, Maybe we should stop and take a little time, ‘Cause you never really know what your neighbor’s going through. A terrific song — one worth listening to or downloading to your iPod. Hurt, But Not Broken, Posted September 11, 2011; A ‘Tail’ of Healing, Posted January 23, 2012.

If we would just slow down, happiness would catch up to us.” Richard Carlson. I have found this quote to be true especially during these past few years. I have found myself slowing down and enjoying the little things in life — those moments that don’t cost anything and often go by in a blink. For example, the way my husband looks at me from across the room and gives a little wink or a smile, how blue my daughter’s eyes really are, the birds on our feeders outside, our two dogs sleeping so contentedly, flowers blooming, watching the sun set, listening to nature, or laughing so hard it makes my side hurt or I almost cry. The small simple pleasures that are missed because the television or the computer is always on or because we get so caught up in the muck of our daily lives. I know I was there — in the middle of the rat race — and I have to admit I don’t miss it. What I should have been asking myself was I working to live or living to work? An Hour to Live, Posted June 8, 2012.

–“The key to a good life is this: If you’re not going to talk about something during the last hour of your life, then don’t make it a top priority during your lifetime.” Richard Carlson. I fell in love with Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff series of books in the 1990’s and knew his work would impact my life at some point. What I didn’t know is it would be 14 years later. I bought every book he published until the year 2000 and highlighted them to the point where the pages resemble rainbows.  I also purchased his audio books since I was commuting to New Jersey. He recorded his own material and I enjoyed his voice — he felt like a friend. Sadly, a year following my injury, I learned he had passed away suddenly while on a book tour. Just recently I read one of his newer books, If You Had An Hour to Live, co-authored with his wife. I can honestly say this book changed my way of thinking. I will forever be grateful to both Richard and Kristine Carlson for sharing their knowledge and love with the world and for impacting my life in such a profound way. Simply put, why waste time on anything during your lifetime if it’s not important enough to be doing it during the last hour of your life. Good stuff.  An Hour to Live, Posted June 8, 2012.

–“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell.  I feel like a bit of a hypocrite naming my blog My Unplanned Life since who really knows how their life is going to pan out. However, what I do know is I had to let go of what I thought I wanted in my life and let God do what he wanted.  What I have learned is that the miracle isn’t the life that I have missed out on — it’s the life I’ve got right now. Living, Loving, Losing, Posted August 22, 2011; I Get What I Need, Posted January 1, 2012.

— I have come to the conclusion life is all about balancing. The good and the bad; the positive and the negative; counting your blessings. After all, I have said most of my adult life every day is a good day — just some days are better!’  I Know We’re Gonna Make It!, Posted May 8, 2012

–“When God pushes you to the edge of difficulty, trust Him fully, because only two things can happen; either He will catch you when you fall or He will teach you how to fly.” /“I don’t always get what I want — I get what I need.” Colin Raye.  The first quote took me a long time to accept and quite honestly…to believe. However, once I allowed myself to fall, God was there and never left my side. The second quote are lyrics to the song “I Get What I Need” and certainly ring true about my conversations with God during the past few years. I now keep these lyrics with me as a reminder of who is really in charge. I also learned during the past seven years God will do what He wants on His timeline — not ours. In addition, we don’t always know what is best for us — only God does. Patience — something I needed to learn and did…thank goodness! I Get What I Need, January 1, 2012.

©My Unplanned Life and 2012.


About mswd

I am an individual living with a spinal cord injury. How the injury occurred, how I found out how severe my injury was and how my planned life suddenly became 'unplanned' is included in this blog. Also included is how the injury has tested my family and me. I believe you will discover it has been both a mentally and physically challenging ordeal and I learned a few lessons along the way. While I am still defining my life’s purpose since the injury, I have uncovered those who are injured, live with pain or have other obstacles to navigate are never able to escape. However, come with me as I explore ways to improve my life, learn to live with multiple neurological conditions, educate others and look for the silver lining. I believe with a little willpower, my caring family and God's guidance I will learn to forgive, hopefully forget how I was treated and dismissed by a doctor and uncover life's new purpose. I pray for painfree days and answers to questions that keep swirling through my mind. I also pray for a cure for neurological conditions and for the doctors to treat their patients with respect. Welcome to my journey. I would love to hear about yours!
This entry was posted in Being Thankful, Dolphin Tale, Don't Give Up, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, Dr. Liar, Faith, Forgiveness, God, Gratitude, Happiness, Hurt but not Broken, Living with no Regrets, Pain, Richard Carlson, Self Discovery, Spinal Cord Injury and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to My Seventh Anniversary…with Gratitude

  1. Chatter Master says:

    WOnderful lessons. Many of the things you asked yourself, I still ask. But it does take a full life time to learn all of our lessons, doesn’t it? 🙂 Great post!

    • mswd says:

      Thanks Colleen! Yes, it does take a lifetime of lessons to teach us the things we need to know. That reminds me of another one of my favorite quotes from Mother Teresa: “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” As my aunt commented on a FB quote the other day…I feel as if I should have my Master’s Degree in life’s lessons! 🙂 Thank you for your great posts! Keep ’em coming!

      • Chatter Master says:

        Thanks Marsha! I love that quote !!! And I agree with your aunt…. I should call you Master or Doctor. Which do you prefer? 🙂 I love that you share your life lessons. They are so valuable.

      • mswd says:

        Colleen ~ you are too funny! New life lesson coming soon…and I think I am going to be able to write a NEW book at some point. This one is going to be titled…I AM SOOOO Sick of Doctors, or Please, Just Go Ahead and Remove ALL My Vital Organs…! Well…I could go on, but… Keep posting some funny material…I need the laughs! 🙂 Stay out of trouble dear friend.

      • Chatter Master says:

        Thanks Marsha! How about keeping the vital organs but go ahead with the ones you don’t need? YOU have a great attitude!

      • mswd says:

        Thanks Colleen — it’s been a rough few days. Can’t get in with the surgeon I want and I WON’T settle for the ones who are available. Just hoping the ole gallbladder will hang in there until the ‘good’ doctor has a cancellation. Doing the gallbladder healthy diet, smooties (your favorite!) and lots of aloe vera juice.

      • Chatter Master says:

        I don’t blame you on waiting for the doctor YOU want! And good on you! with the gallbladder diet (smoothies rock!). 🙂 I hope you are in comfort until they can take care of this!!! I hear oatmeal is gallbladder friendly.

  2. Lois Forret says:

    I admire your attitude, I am much older than you but I have not learned them.

    • mswd says:

      Dear Lois ~ when I made the decision to relocate to the Northeast, leaving my family and later going through a divorce, I was feeling fairly beaten up and rather alone. A few years later along came Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff books, which changed my way of thinking especially when I read his chapter titled — “Surrender to the Fact that Life Isn’t Fair.” That one quote and chapter was so simple, but made me think…well, duh…whomever said life was going to be fair? Another chapter “Will This Matter a Year from Now?” was another one I kept in mind when I began stressing over the small things. A dear friend found this quote framed and gave it to me as a gift and it was in my office until I stopped working. Sadly, following my injury I strayed from these two important tips and didn’t think of them again until I read An Hour to Live written by Richard and Kristine Carlson. I ‘stumbled’ across this book in one of the most unlikely places to find a book, but I am so glad I did! Once I read An Hour to Live, I quickly went into our home office and discovered all of my ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ books and have re-read them and now feel I am back on track. However, it has taken me a long time (as you know) and I didn’t come to this way of thinking alone — I have a lot of people who have helped — my new ‘doctor’ (ok, shrink), my wonderful husband, friends, and family. In addition, blogging has helped as well as a lot of stumbling and getting back up again. While I know I will still have some difficult moments…what I know for sure is that I have been to Hell and back but that I am going to be ok. Thank you for comment…I love when people leave messages letting me know they visited the site. Sending love.

  3. Nila Hansford says:

    Marsha, I have enjoyed reading your comments and am trying to put some of this philosophy to work in my own life. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and am struggling with negative thoughts. Knowing that others have coped with far worse and kept their optimism (and sanity!) certainly helps.

    • mswd says:

      Dear Nila ~ I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I titled the web address of the blog ‘shakinguplife’ since one of neurological conditions is an Essential Tremor, similar to Parkinson’s. You may have noticed my tremor years ago, but it was only on my right side. However, following my spinal cord injury, it spread to my left side, head and voice. Needless to say, I know a little bit of what you are experiencing. I have found comfort as well as benefitted from the research from the International Essential Tremor Foundation. I am sure there is an organization similar for Parkinson’s — it is helpful learning from others who are going through what you are…misery loves company or something like that 😦 However, what helps is knowing that you aren’t alone. In addition, there is so much going on in research that isn’t communicated to the media that is shared with many patients and a lot of trials. Since you and I are so close…I would love to get together for lunch, coffee, etc. I am going to FB my phone number to you.

      Thank you for your kind words about the blog. Trust me, I know it’s tough to keep a positive attitude when dealing with a difficult diagnosis; however, keep the faith and know you aren’t alone. I am thinking about you and please know you are in my prayers. Sending love.

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