Last month, my dad and I sat on the rocks alongside the American River in CA. There was a man-made pool in the river created with river rocks. My mom was sitting on a large rock in the pool. Her elbows rested on the rock as she absorbed the beauty that surrounded her. The sun glistened on the water and it was a beautiful sight. Mom looked at peace and that vision warmed my heart. As dad and I gazed at her, he said, “She’s really good at that.” Dad was referring to her ability to slow down, appreciate the small things and to be in the moment.
When I was 23 years old, I lived in York, PA and was the Chapter and Walk Coordinator for the South Central PA Chapter of the PKD Foundation. I found myself researching senators online, as I had an interest in educating them on PKD and getting them involved in the local PKD Chapter. I randomly chose Senator Mike Waugh. I called his office and said that I would like to meet with Senator Waugh, educate him on PKD and inform him on the advocacy work I was doing in the community. His office graciously set up an appointment for me to meet with Senator Waugh.
You never know what the new day will bring. We can plan ahead our intentions for the next day, but unexpected or unwanted obstacles may present themselves. This happened to me last week. I went to bed Sunday evening with a game plan of what I wanted to accomplish the following day. When I opened my eyes Monday morning, I knew the prognosis for my day was not going to be good. I was immediately nauseous and grabbed the bathroom trashcan. I proceeded to dry-heave for more than two hours straight. I was so miserable and my stomach was on fire with pain. I hate vomiting, but I just wished that I would in hopes that I would feel better. I finally threw up and knew what I had to do next.
“Pink is pretty. Pink is bright. I made a decision to live and fight.” – Breast cancer survivor slogan
On the evening of February 4, 2010, I stood at the head of a long table in a room at the Elmwood Mansion in York PA, about to share my journey to the P.I.N.K. (Power In Knowledge) group. Surrounding the table were breast cancer warriors. Some of the women were in remission, while others were “in the trenches” battling cancer. Clothing did not reveal those who were in the midst of breast reconstructive surgeries. Most of the women had hair, while a few did not. From my viewpoint, I would have never known these women were battling anything. They exuded strength and happiness that was quite commendable.
Were you recently diagnosed with PKD? Living with PKD? Have a loved one with PKD? Looking for hope and inspiration? Welcome to PKD Will Not Beat Me! My mission is to provide Positivity, Knowledge and Determination as you navigate your individual path in life.
This is PKD Will Not Beat Me’s first blog post shared on PKD Connection, however PKD Will Not Beat Me launched on June 21, 2012, with its first blog post Positivity – Knowledge – Determination. Today marks my 112th blog post.
“All we are really looking for is connection, direction and meaning.” – Lucia Steele
Living with PKD is a life of acceptance, fear, patience, strength, love and change. We yearn for connecting with others that ‘get it.’ We want to be given direction on how we can get answers on our health and feel better. All the while, we desire a life full of meaning, despite the challenges and changes set before us. It is important to look through positive lenses knowing change can reveal how strong we are and what we are capable of accomplishing. Change can lead to wonderful new adventures. October 13th kicks off a new venture for the PKD Foundation and the PKD Will Not Beat Me blog. The 13th is surrounded by good omens: my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday, the 12-year and 2nd month anniversary of my kidney transplant, and the launch of the new PKD Connection blog.
Sometimes it is during our quietest moments we are able to reflect and learn the most about life and ourselves. When in our normal routines, the weeks and months seem to race by. Last week reminded me that when our pace of living slows down and we get away from our normal schedules, we are able to breathe deeply. Time seems to slow down allowing us to appreciate everything on a grander scale.
“Travel not to find yourself, but to remember who you’ve been all along.” – Anonymous
“Are you an organ donor?” I recently asked this, repetitively, over the course of two hours. It was an enlightening experience to volunteer at the Sierra Donor Services Donate Life booth for the DMV Wellness Fair. People would stroll down the line of booths and as they approached ours, me and the two other volunteers would greet the individuals and ask them, “Are you an organ donor?” Hearing their answers and seeing their expressions was eye opening.
Let’s rewind to December 24, 1958. My mother-in-law, Pam Keefer, was four years old. Her parents and relatives celebrated Christmas with great enthusiasm and joy. Pam said Christmas Eve was a big merriment spent in Gladwyne, PA at her grandparents’ home with her aunts, uncles, grandparents and parents. The spirited evening was wrapped in gifts and the air filled with the sound of Christmas carols. Following this jolly eve of Christmas at Pam’s grandparents in 1958, her parents, Pam and her sister began their voyage home.
“In the 15 years I have been a therapeutic massage therapist, you are my first client who has not complained about your health issues but rather shared them with me.” Since this insightful statement was said to me, it has entered my train of thought numerous times. I love how someone that I met for the first time and spent two hours with can discover and share such a vital part of who I am. There is much validity in her observation, as I do not complain about the things that encompass my life, but rather share them.