Friday, June 26, 2015

Penny for Change

We are each confronted with components of our life and ourselves that we are unable to alter. As much as we strive to cling to a life created of our mind's idea of perfection, it is merely impossible. There are some elements of life that are simply out of our control: unable to be changed.  

But within each unchangeable circumstance there is something most beautiful.  The most beautiful thing? We do have control and we can change it. We each control how we allow these unchangeable and inalterable factors to impact us, shape us, mold us, and motivate us. We ourselves are far greater than any tragedy, diagnosis, despair, or struggle. Those uncontrollable things help make us who we are, but they do not define us or devalue our life's unique beauty. They are essential to our life's great story. 

Two weeks ago a port-a-cath was placed along the bottom part of my ribcage: ready to aid in the fight against CF when called upon. Since this port is going to be sticking around long term, I thought it only right to give it a name, Penny. The port, about the shape of a circus peanut, has 2 access points each about the size of a penny.

The initial plan was to have Penny go in my arm, similar to where a PICC line is usually placed, but due to vein issues had to be relocated to my abdomen. From the port at my abdomen, a catheter is tunneled beneath my skin to my clavicle where then it is inserted into a vein leading to my heart. So after two weeks of healing, the bruises are minimizing and the incisions are scarring over. Most of the time I forget Penny is even there. Then something brushes against my ribcage and Penny sends a sharp reminder of her presence. There's usually a wave of heartache that washes over me when I am reminded of Penny's presence. Like when I catch a glance of my bruised chest and the distorted skin of the entry sights. Or, when suddenly, without thinking, my fingertips will brush against my chest just below my clavicle and I can feel the tiny catheter (or tubing) just beneath my skin. Again, a flood of emotion descends upon me and I feel for a moment as if all the air is siphoned from my lungs. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, reminding myself of the goodness that is my life and some of the simple realities that accompany it. I remind myself of the elements of my life I cannot simply change. I remind myself how even though I cannot change the fact that I have CF and its willingness to mercilessly steal every breath, I do have the power to control how I allow it to impact me and live each day. 

The unchangeable reality is that it was time for a port-a-cath, but it is my current choice how I let it impact my life: positively or negatively. I can embrace the uncontrollable and inalterable, realizing the simple beauty of every breath I am still given, or I can live amongst a misery built upon an unchangeable denial. Does that mean there are times that when Penny wakes me up because I am sleeping on my right side or stomach that a deep hearted longing won't escape from my lips that I wish I could change the mere fact that I have CF? There will always be that deep seeded wish, but it's an element of my life in which I cannot control. 

But then that despondency turns to gratitude. I am grateful. Grateful for the life I am living, the people I know and love, and the incredible experiences I've embodied. It's because of this very unchangeable component in my life it is so very beautiful and incredible. 

The acceptance of ourselves and the ability to realize our life's unique beauty is based upon the acknowledgement of what we can and cannot change: allowing us to be grateful for every part of our journey that has helped mold us into who we are.  Love to you all. 

Be the change in the unchangeable. 

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