Saturday, February 18, 2012

A TALE OF PAIN AND GAIN

Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here once again, to share with you a story of inspiration and hope.

It has been a sad time in Brenda's life once again, as she lost yet, another family member.  Her brother-in-law Larry, who passed away last week.  He was married to her sister Bev, who passed away in 2003 from colon cancer.  Brenda has written a wonderful story about her.  It's called "Remembering My Big Sister" and you can find it here, as it was before I came along.

She had a chance to share this story with Larry, as she gave him a copy.  She received the nicest thank you card from him.  This is what he wrote.  "Thank you so much for that beautiful writing you wrote about Bev. I can tell when I read it, it came totally from the love of your heart."

I had the pleasure of meeting Larry myself once, and I have to say, that he seemed like a pretty neat fella.

Brenda had a few lunches with Larry a few months before he passed.  After they went through her Mom's items, she took him out for lunch, as he was such a big help to her that day.

Right before Thanksgiving, the last time she saw him, he took her out for lunch.  They had sloppy joes and as they were sitting there he said, "Well, I guess this is our Thanksgiving dinner."  Brenda thought that was really sweet.

The last time she talked to him was less than 2 weeks before his passing.  She had a tax question for him, as he did lots of taxes for people this time of year.  One of the last things he asked Brenda was, "How's Trevor?"  Now, you gotta know that was so touching and so very dog gone kind of him. 

She has many good memories of Larry.  He would ask her many times how her Rheumatoid Arthritis was?  He really cared about her.  He taught her a little about football and they would even watch some games together with Bev, when she was still with us.

She will miss him, but she was really glad, that she had him for a brother-in-law all those years.  23 years is a long time.  He encouraged her with so many things.  You see his mom had a brain tumor also, so they had some things in common.  The emotions experienced by both are really uncanny.

She may have lost a very dear person, but she gained much from him.  He was kind and considerate.  He brought a very lovely bouquet of flowers to Mom, while she was in the nursing home.  Brenda took pictures of these beautiful flowers and has that to treasure.

As some of you know, Brenda battles with 2 significant life altering situations every day of her life.  First, she has battled with Rheumatoid Arthritis for almost 21 years now.  She also is a meningioma brain tumor survivor of over 3 years.  That is not an easy load to bear sometimes.  Brenda tries to approach both with grace and dignity.

She also fights for awareness on both fronts.  She recently participated, as was mentioned in a previous blog in, " The Show Us Your Hands" project.  She is no longer ashamed to show her hands to anyone.  She works hard with them, as they help her to make a living.  She also has learned through all of this, that she really enjoys writing, as this is her way of expressing how she deals with these adversities.

She also fights hard to spread brain tumor awareness, as this ultimately changed her life forever. Some people just don't get this and she really doesn't care what some think or feel about this.  She knows that she has plenty of people in her corner, who do care and are on the same path to fight just as hard as she does. 

One of the things that Brenda experiences, courtesy of having had a brain tumor located in the right frontal lobe is...that sometimes her emotions are all over the place.  She can be laughing one minute and wham crying the next.  This does not bother her anymore.  This is one fight that she knows that she will not win.  It also gives her permission to not have to feel guilty about these feelings.  Just let those tears flow.

She also has learned something through going through grief, as her Mom has almost been gone now 9 months.  She read this in a book.  It goes something like this.  " I may feel this way now, but I won't always feel this way, but it is okay that right now, that I feel this way."  Really takes the pressure off.

Brenda is really just trying to get through all of this.  She sometimes just has to take a break and rest.  She works full time and tries to take good care of herself.  She has been battling a very bad cold for several weeks now.  She also can't do her weekly injection for her RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). when she experiences any type of infection.  Her RA has been more active than usual because of this. 

She continues to do her ROM (Range Of Motion) twice a day, because she knows how important it is to move those joints.  She misses her long walks, but with her feet being so bad, that is just no longer an option.  She was fitted with orthotics last year and also sported an air cast for 6 weeks. 

While she misses her long walks, through her brain tumor experience, she discovered that she is creative and that's how her writing began.  We may lose something we love, but if we are open to change, we may actually find that something much more gratifying can come into our lives. 

Even through her experience with RA, some wonderful things have come down the pike.  You may be thinking to yourself, how can anything beautiful or wonderful ever come of such a terrible disease?  You find your blessings come in all shapes and sizes.  Hers have been through opportunities, that have pretty much just fallen into her lap.  It has taken years of acceptance and perseverance, but it is really starting to pay off.  Her advice to you is, never ever give up on your dreams, because we all have them.

Being a brain tumor survivor has also brought it's share of blessings.  She has been in contact with many wonderful people.  She has had the opportunity to meet some of these warriors.

While both of these adversities certainly brings a lot of physical pain in her life, she also realizes that she has gained so much more than she could have ever imagined.

Yes folks, pain and gain, they really do go hand in hand with life. 

I hope you have enjoyed this tale.  It's really how each and everyone of us should approach life.