Being Courageous

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I admire courageous people. Last week my sister in law’s grandfather passed away and she made a beautiful eulogy at his memorial. While I can only imagine her grief, she spoke with love, gratitude and respect. I admire her strength under such difficult and sad circumstances.

I am having trouble with courage these days. While I had several months of positive medical news, sadly, I am once again dealing with some troubling obstacles. New medical problems stemming from the effects of my spinal cord injury and once again I am faced with the medical problems and the demons of Dr. Liar. I never thought I would be facing new problems seven and a half years after Dr. Liar hit my spinal cord. It leaves me scared and confused about the unknown and what might still be around the corner.

During my most recent session with my shrink, he told me it was okay to feel the emotional pain of this most recent medical disappointment, to be mad at Dr. Liar and God, and to allow myself time to also be sad with the shock of this news. He also indicated in time I would pick myself up as I had done in the past and would get through this…just as I had gotten through all the other setbacks. Hearing those words were comforting, but it didn’t erase the fact I was once again at war with more medical issues and Dr. Liar.

In addition, I have had my feelings hurt these past few weeks by the very people I thought were there to lift me up and help me re-gain my confidence. To these people I am struggling with being able to say the right thing when they say the wrong thing. I used to be able to immediately speak the correct response when someone would say something inappropriate or hurtful. It’s not that I want to hurt someone’s feelings, but I also don’t want to be a doormat. I want to say the appropriate thing. When someone treats my family or me unfairly, shouldn’t I speak up and demand respect?  However, at the same time, I also like to think about things before I say it. Once words are spoken…they are forever out there. “You can never un-ring a bell.” Sadly things have been said to me that can’t be un-rung.

While I know people treat you the way you allow them to, I am struggling with seeing the person I used to be slipping away. I am no longer the strong, self-confident woman I once was. I know the people around me see me as a much weaker individual who is far different from she was in 2005. In many ways, as I have written before, I wouldn’t go back to that person; however, in some ways, I am tired of having to explain myself, the reasons I am medically retired and justify to others the decisions my family and I have made. I am also tired of people not being responsible for themselves and blaming others for all that is wrong in their lives. I want adults to take ownership for their problems and stop asking for handouts.

I also want to shout from the rooftops when I hear people complaining about the smallest, most non-important things. Try focusing on serious medical issues for many years and you will know what is important and what it means to stress over something truly critical. The quote by Augusten Burroughs — ‘when you have your health– you have everything’ certainly rings true.

People seem to be stressing in excess about money, politics, gas prices, family dynamics, etc. I understand many of the stressors personally, after all, our family went without my husband’s income for a year, our medical insurance coverage decreased while our medical bills increased, and our regular bills certainly didn’t go away. However, to put things in perspective, I have been thinking about a friend who recently went to the hospital thinking she had suffered from a stroke. Sadly, instead of leaving the hospital with a treatment plan, she was told she has brain cancer and just months to live.

My friend is demonstrating true courage. She is facing death and getting her affairs in order. Under the circumstances, I am not sure how I would react or what I would do. When I heard the news I immediately thought back to the post I wrote regarding Richard and Kristine Carlson’s book If You Had an Hour to Live. Have I drifted away from what is important in life and gotten too bogged down in the nonsense? Am I once again sweating the small stuff? Or, like my shrink said…should I just allow myself time to feel sad and mad and pick myself up when I am ready?

Whatever the case, I want to work on being more courageous.  Napoleon Bonaparte summed it up nicely when he said “Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.”

©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 Disability, Disappointment, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, Dr. Liar, Forgiveness, God, Hurt but not Broken, Richard Carlson, Self Discovery, Spinal Cord Injury and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Being Courageous

  1. Brenda Jennings says:

    Marsha, you have shown courage, strenght, understanding, reflection, kindness, and forgiveness through all of this and you have done it with grace and dignity. I Think it is only natural for you to have peroids of anger and resentment, not only at Dr Liar but at the part of you that will never be the same because of the situtation. Please give yourself time, as with each setback you will find the right path. I admired you, and to me you are the same woman you were in 2005, just more mature and beautiful!

    • mswd says:

      Brenda ~ when I am feeling a bit low, I should definitely write a post for the blog since I receive the kindest, sweetest messages…like yours! I thought I was writing the blog to help others, but what it does, when I need it the most, is help me. 🙂 I thank you so much for your lovely message and inspiring words. I know deep down I am a fighter and I know I will battle my way out of this one. I believe I am just tired of being sick. However, I will also not let Dr. Liar win and allow myself to become the ‘victim’…again. I thank you for reminding me of who I really am…even if I had forgotten. Love to you and thank you again for your thoughtful, loving words. I miss and love you more than you know! XO

  2. Beth says:

    If anything, Marsha, you are stronger and more courageous now than you were before Dr. Liar entered and forever changed your life. You show courage each day by awakening and getting on with life, by knowing that this period of anger and resentment will pass and by challenging yourself to share your experiences with the world through your beautiful writings. You are a true inspiration to me and to everyone who knows you. Hang in there, girlfriend!!!!

    • mswd says:

      Beth ~ what a sweet message coming from my dear MBC classmate. In fact, I believe it was time spent on that beautiful campus with friends like you that did in fact help make me stronger, wiser and give me the courage I would need later on in life. When I arrived at college I was a far different person than when I left four years later…confident, strong and yes, more courageous since I was taught the life skills I would need to be a working woman, a single mother and now a person who is battling a multitude of medical problems. However, like all ‘fighting squirrels’…I have my acorns tucked away and now that I have had my pity party I am ready to once again push aside the bad stuff and come back even stronger. I can’t thank you enough for taking me back to our time on campus via your messsage and reminding me of how far I have truly come. I know I have it in me…just every now and then I need to be reminded. Pain, constant doctor appointments, walking with a cane and regular trips to the Emergency Room get to be a downer; however, thanks to you and all the wonderful messages of love and encouragement…I am back on track. Thinking of you and hoping YOU are feeling better. Please let me know how you are doing — I know you have experienced your share of pain. Sending love! Thank you again dear, dear friend. XO

  3. You inspire me, by not giving up, and moving forward always. And moving forward doesn’t mean you don’t get mad or discouraged once in awhile. It’s part of the journey.

    • mswd says:

      Colleen ~ thank you so much for your kind messages and uplifting words…and your terrific blog. I don’t know how you do it…writing daily…but I know where to turn for a chuckle or encouraging message. I am so glad our paths crossed — it is reassuring knowing you are there for me during this journey. I can’t imagine going it alone. Sending love and blessings to you and your family!

      • Thank you so much! Isn’t it wonderful, the encouragement we can get from places and people we never knew of just a few short years ago? You are, as well, a blessing to many of us.

  4. l mossner says:

    Hi Marsha,
    Just a little note to tell you I’m thinking and praying for you. I love you Linda

    • mswd says:

      Linda ~ thank you for your message and for reminding me how blessed I am to have married into such a wonderful family. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. I love you and miss you more than you know. Will be sending you an email to catch you up on the news and hoping things have settled down in your family. XO

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