When Illness Threatens to Put Out Your Fire

victorious girl in wheelchairIt always amuses me when life gives me opportunities to practice what I preach. I am just finishing up my fifth book, which is about stress, and someone asked me if I felt I had to create more stress in my life in order to write the book. And if you looked at the past year, you might think that.

Tragically, our 41 year old sister in law died of melanoma after a five year courageous battle, leaving behind her husband and six year old son. Over the past few months, my husband and I have both had pneumonia and one of our cats has had a severe bacterial infection. We are normally a very healthy family but all of this illness has reminded me never to take that for granted. I originally learned that lesson as a young girl when my mother became terminally ill when I was six. She died 15 years later, and I discovered how important it is to tell people you love them when you have the chance. And how celebrating the wonderful, fun, joyful moments regardless of someone’s health is what fuels great memories later on.

So what about you? What do you do when you are sick? Do you have any nurturing rituals that help you feel better, besides your arsenal of vitamins, medications and syrups? My friend Lisa swears by very hot baths with Epsom salt; she claims they knock out everything! I myself love napping with my kitties and getting extra rest, doubling up on my Echinacea cold care tea and vitamin therapy. And I am not above asking for help. My husband Spencer is a loving, compassionate caretaker, when I let him be. As I Kleenex® my way through a nasty cold, he has been massaging my shoulders, making me dinner, fixing me hot beverages and bringing me magazines.

A very dear friend is once again battling breast cancer. And I love that she shares with me, asks questions, requests support in key ways and lets her honest fears and pains out. She is such a vibrant, courageous inspiration. She is not looking to die; she is embracing life fully and sometimes gets knocked down. But she just gets back up. Her Fired Up! attitude enables her to face something awful, cancer, in a positive way and she lifts every one around her with her tenacity, joie de vivre and laughter.

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