Happy Memorial Weekend! How To Cope And Survive When Illness Knocks You Down…

We live in predictable patterns involving every aspect of life. Every morning we expect our day to be as we’ve planned it. And we don’t want any unexpected situations forcing us down a different path. Usually, our plans are easily fulfilled, and our days are as they should be. No problem. Everything’s under control, and all is well.

But we don’t live in a fairy tale. Our world is real, and unforeseen things do happen, like a check bounces at the bank, the car has a flat tire, or you forgot an important appointment, etc. Bothersome interruptions, but solvable. And that’s okay. You’ve been there before, and you understand that life sometimes gets bumpy, and you have to roll with it. 

“I can and will make it through the storm…simply because I’m a survivor. It’s what I do.”  ~ Unknown

But what happens when a sudden unexpected illness temporarily invades your predictable life, like the flu, various viral infections, a chest cold that turns into pneumonia, etc, etc. Such health challenges are not life threatening, but they put your life on hold, and they require more than a band-aid. And what about the more serious chronic illnesses like COPD, diabetes, a heart condition, etc…illnesses that require a lifetime of attention. Whatever the illness, they all take their toll. And your life is changed. But you can survive.

“You’re allowed to scream, you’re allowed to cry, but do not give up.”  ~Unknown

Recently I spent 6 days in a hospital, then a slow recovery at home. Hospitals are there to promote healing, but the experience can add stress to what you’re already going through. In the hospital, every time there was a change of shifts, the new shift contradicted what the last shift required. And I felt like a ball bounced back and forth by the different shifts. One said get out of bed and move around, and the next one jumped all over me for getting out of bed and moving around. I ended up yelling at the walls and crying to go home. The whole thing was like a page out of the movie, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” I had to come home to begin healing.

We experience illness on 3 levels, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In our response we may physically see or feel it; mentally we think about it, “Can I afford the medical bills? How can I function with it?” etc; and emotionally we feel angry, scared, frustrated, helpless, etc.

Each illness will manifest in different ways. One may involve physical pain with fear and frustration. Another may involve guilt, worry, or resentment. Another added expense, loss of mobility and independence, leaving you feeling helpless. And each person responds in different ways. Some perceive even a minor illness as devastating, while others take it in stride. The way you perceive it depends upon your personality, your life situation, and the way you view your life.


“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”  ~Arthur Ashe

How do you respond when illness knocks you down? Have you ever thought about the way in which you deal with it? Knowing and understanding yourself at those times supplies a sense of control and is the first step in the healing process as you implement other resources. But once you’ve made that first assessment, it’s important to quiet your mind and allow your body to heal.

Too often, some in the medical field have a ‘one size fits all’ agenda. But this is the last attitude a person in pain needs or wants. One size doesn’t fit all. You are unique, and you need individual care. So when you need medical care, look for a care giver who cares.

“People start to heal the moment they feel heard.”  ~ Cheryl Richardson

Have you ever felt alone in a health challenge? Have you ever longed for someone to hear you and put their arm around you and tell you you’ll be okay? Well, that someone is a major part of your healing. So find that person, and allow their caring energy to help you heal. And whether you’re facing a temporary or permanent situation, look within for guidance, strength, and confidence, knowing you will always be the same beautiful soul that you are. And no illness can ever change that.


I wish you healthy days and loving arms around you.

Marilyn Fowler
Author, and writer for “Keys To Recovery,”  “Silent Echoes”  and  “Me and Granmama in the Hill Country”

From Fear Can Come Much Faith…

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”  ~Marie Curie

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We’re all afraid sometimes. It’s part of the human condition. Rational fears of a real danger mobilize to positive action. But fears of imagined threats can be destructive and immobilize to exhaustion. We deal with both as we move along our day-to-day path. And it’s helpful to understand what it is we’re dealing with.

A few years ago, I was in a serious car wreck caused by a driver making an illegal turn in front of my car at an intersection. My foot immediately slammed on the brake. Panic and fear gripped my senses, and I couldn’t stop screaming until impact suddenly stopped my car. I spent 4 days in the hospital and 2 months in a nursing home for rehab. I went from a wheelchair to a walker and then a cane. Yes, real dangers need positive action. But fears we conjure up in our minds take their toll in unnecessary stress and worry.

So what are you afraid of? What scares you? Does your mind sometimes drift into “what if” thinking, and you function from a state of fear? What if…I don’t get the job, I make a mistake, this person leaves me, I get sick again, I look foolish, my plan doesn’t work. What if…what if….  It doesn’t get you anywhere, does it? But we all do it.

“Faith and Fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose.”  ~Bob Proctor

We can’t see into the future, so everything in life is unpredictable. Caution is useful, but fear of the unknown can become a damaging habit. Usually, it begins with doubt, then you worry, and then fear sets in. Can you imagine how much negative energy you’re pouring into a situation? You’re already contaminating it. And your mind has chosen that route. But you have the power to choose freedom.

An effective way to stop a fear habit is to replace it with a habit of faith. And that takes some monitoring of your thinking patterns. Once you identify your doubt, worry, and fear, then you can do something about it. When you feel that first bit of discomfort in the pit of your stomach, go inside and clarify your feelings, honestly. And begin confronting those feelings.

“Don’t be afraid of change, because it is leading you to a new beginning.” ~Joyce Meyer

I’m a believer in denials and affirmations to change our feelings about something. We can’t deny our emotions, but we can deny them any power over us. Pull the fear up to the surface and talk to it like you would another person. “Okay, fear, I know you’re there. But I deny you have any power over me. You’re no bigger than a fly on a horse’s rump, so you might as well go away. I’m done with you.” Then affirm the truth about the situation. “I release you now and affirm my freedom from you through the real Power of faith within me. I am a precious child of the Universe, untouched by your mischief. So get out of my life.” Use whatever words you’re comfortable with, but be firm in your faith, faith in the truth of who you are.

Ridding yourself of unwanted emotions isn’t easy, and it takes practice. But as time passes, you’ll feel a shift of courage within you, and you’ll smile. As Maya Angelou says, “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” Not every situation in your life will turn out the way you want it, but you can avoid those negative feelings, and walk your path with courage and faith. It’s like having a tool in your pocket when your human self gets in the way of your sacred Self. Life is not for living in fear. It’s for learning and growing and feeling happy.

I wish you faith-filled walks through each experience in your life.

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Author, Marilyn Fowler

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Do You See Your Rainbow? It’s There.

Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail.  ~ Anonymous ~

I’m 10 years old on a school trip, mesmerized by a sight so beautiful my breath escapes me. Thousands of tulips. Michigan tulips. As far as I can see they stretch across a field before me, and fill my eyes with brilliant color beneath a soft blue sky above. Their colors form a rainbow in my mind. Yellow, red, purple, pink, orange, white, all swaying in the warm breeze while the springtime sun sparkles on their petals. I hold my chest and sway with them, overcome with awe at a sight I only dreamed of in my story books. For a while, this incredible sight replaces the loneliness I feel at home. It’s nobody’s fault at home. That’s just the way it is.
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This beautiful panorama of color taught me something I’ve carried with me my whole life. No matter what pain we encounter on our journey, there is always a rainbow somewhere. There have been times when I looked around at my life and saw nothing but dregs of what might have been. Boulders that looked too big to overcome. Doors closed to me forever. Hills too steep to climb. But my mind held the picture of the tulips, and I found my tulip rainbow’s message of hope, guidance, and promise for my life. And I picked myself up and moved on.

Do you remember an experience in your life, perhaps in childhood, when you felt deep inside an awesome sense of being—that you mattered? It may have been an insignificant event to others, but for you it deeply touched your heart, and it’s still with you. Mine was my tulips. What was yours?

When life throws you a curve, and you think you can’t get up, you may not see a rainbow.  But the rainbow is always there. Maybe it’s just behind the clouds you see in your life, or between rain stops when they fall, or in birds talking to each other early in the morning, or in a child’s smile. You may have to get on a bus and take a field trip in your mind to find it. But it’s there.

We may run, walk, stumble, drive or fly, but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey, or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way.”
~ Gloria Gaither ~

 

We’re all on our journey through life, and sometimes that journey gets rough. But the rainbow tells us there’s hope. Re-experiencing your memory with feeling is what creates your rainbow of hope, or whatever a rainbow means to you. When you find some kind of pain in your life, bring up your memory and picture a rainbow in your mind. And claim that rainbow as yours for the hope, and peace you want. If you don’t have such a memory, imagination is a gift we receive when we’re born, and you can create anything you want with this gift. Work the process, and know your rainbow is already there. You just have to claim it.
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“Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life, the evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.”
~ Byron, The Bride of Abydos ~

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Life has a way of putting the difficult stuff right in our face, while the good stuff remains illusive. Maybe that’s what teaches us how to be more alert and careful where we apply our attention. Rainbows are all around you. You have to know that. You have to believe that. And open your eyes and your heart to look past the darkness and find them.

I wish you clear vision along your path .  .  .

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Author, Marilyn Fowler
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