7/26/2009

365 days ago...


my leg, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

I keep trying to think of a way to express how I feel right now, and no matter what I say it just sounds a bit over-the-top sentimental...

This time last year I was lying in a hospital bed, unable to even stand on my left leg. I was getting megadoses of any antibiotic that I could tolerate. My arms were riddled with IV holes & were raw and swollen from the endless effort to find good veins. I was feverish & exhausted. Vicodin was my constant companion. My friends were caring for my children as I was in the midst of a battle between several medical teams. I knew surgery was looming, the only question was exactly where and when. John was absolutely spent from the emotional and physical burdens placed on his shoulders.

And then this year....while John and the kiddos were at ComiCon, I raced in the State Champs Sprints with my outrigger canoe team and graduated from a 'novice' paddler to a full-fledged member of the team. I thought nothing of strolling all around Old Town Santa Barbara with friends, my left leg now strong and sure, only a deep pink seam and an indentation along the muscle on the inside of my calf as evidence of last year's trauma.

Perhaps ironically, I am sick right now--fighting a nasty cough that's left over from a bout with the flu last week. But it seems hardly anything to me in the larger scheme of things...

Life has such a fascinating and sometimes awful way of keeping me on my toes (literally and figuratively!). As I went swimming with my family this morning and dove down deep into the blue water, moving strongly & surely with each stroke, I couldn't help but be grateful for experiencing the contrast between health and sickness. Knowing both makes me appreciate just how precious and beautiful every moment is--getting me through the dark days and helping me to recognize the light for just how very precious it is.

A favorite quotation of mine is "Quocunque Jeceris Stabit"* (you'll occasionally see this phrase rotate through the various taglines that appear under my blogtitle). It's the motto of the Isle of Man, the small UK nation of my maternal ancestors. Translated from the Manx it means "Whichever Way You Throw Me, I Shall Stand." I think of that phrase often on my life's journey. I've been thrown and pummeled. I've lost some pretty significant chunks of my self along the way. But I also like knowing that--even if takes awhile--I will eventually overcome and emerge even stronger than before.

And thank you, friends, for all of your support and encouragement along this journey. There have been moments when I was carried by the love & goodwill from each of you. You are wonderful. :)



*UPDATE: As several of my language-savvy readers have pointed out, the phrase is Latin rather than Manx (I'm sure even my Latin-speaking son could've told me this!!). Here's some background on the phrase from wikipedia:
For centuries, the island's symbol has been its ancient triskelion, a device similar to Sicily's Trinacria: three bent legs, each with a spur, joined at the thigh...

The three legs refer to the island's motto (adopted late in the symbol's history): Quocunque Jeceris Stabit, traditionally translated from Latin as 'Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand', or 'Whichever way you throw it, it will stand'.

The origin of the 'Three Legs of Man' (as they are usually called) is explained in the Manx legend that Manannan repelled an invasion by transforming into the three legs and rolling down the hill and defeating the invaders.

7 comments:

janeannechovy said...

I am so glad you are better!

PS I think that's Latin.

minxlj said...

Wow - what a contrast in a year! So pleased for you, getting to do the outrigger race. That must be such an amazing achievement - I have a phobia of deep water from a horrid childhood experience, so I can't even imagine having the courage to do all that! Congratulations and I'm so glad to see you in a different place, happy and healthy, to what you were last year :)

*** said...

I am glad that you are well (flu, not withstanding). I never cease to be impressed by all that you have accomplished.

michelle | bleeding espresso said...

Love this post, and I love that motto. Hope you kick the flu soon ;)

Chelsea said...

What a difference a year makes! It is amazing how much you have overcome.

John and your kids went to ComiCon? So. Freaking. Jealous.

Dejah Thoris said...

You have always been a precious gift to me, Jana. Though our current schedules have us doing other stuff rather than hanging together, know I think of you often, feel blessed your family is still in my life, and am grateful for your healing.

It has been a journey for me, too, though a different kind of healing, and we are both grateful for knowing both health and illness. We do indeed receive the greatest appreciation when we have known both.

Deepest love, respect, and Namaste,
Y.

Julie said...

I'm not sure how I discovered your blog, but I found it during the time I was recovering from a broken foot--in 10/07 I "turned" it while mowing our lawn and suffered a Jones fracture--a ridiculously small, insignificant-seeming break that took FOREVER to heal, even after they eventually did surgery. I was in a cast and on crutches for months and months.

It was a time of whining and complaining for me--incredible frustration, as I kept hoping for that magical X-ray that said "healed"--and I have to admit I didn't endure the experience the way I wish I would have.

I'm grateful for your blog, for your healthy attitudes, and for your thoughtful reflections.