Since my diagnosis I have been aware there would be many things that I would not be able to do. I was told that I would more than likely not be able to have children because of the medications I had to take. Wrong! I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters.
I was told by doctors that I should avoid heat as it may cause my CIDP to flare up. So, I went out and got a summer job at a golf course. We worked from sun up to sun down in the heat of the summer.
Now, as I sit here a day after receiving my first dose of chemo it is hard for me to not reflect on how the events in my life have prepared me for the task that lies ahead. One year ago I was in a deep depression. I had given in to that little voice in the back of my head that said, "It's OK to feel sorry for yourself. You have had a good run. Nobody will blame you for throwing in the towel." I have heard this voice a thousand times over the last 20 years, but I have always been able to use it as fuel to keep pushing forward. However, this time I couldn't fight this voice off. Why? Everyday the voice seemed to get louder and louder and I began shutting people out of my life. I wanted to be miserable. I wanted to feel sorry for myself. I wanted others to feel sorry for me. As I was being sucked into the dark abyss I offered little resistance. Then I hit my rock bottom. I had forgotten how to pick myself up. I was alone in a room full of people.
Then one day I started to hear another voice say, "If you don't mind it doesn't matter." Hearing these words started a little spark inside me. Quickly, this spark turned into a fire. Now, I needed answers. I needed to know why I was so willing to give in. The answers I found were not the ones I had hoped to find.
Prior to my relapse last year I had been coaching baseball and football. I loved coaching. It gave me purpose and passion that I had not had in years. The problem was that I had put all of my self-worth in to how good or bad my teams were. I had forgotten that it was about teaching and inspiring. Once I was no longer able to coach, my self-worth was gone. That is why I could no longer fight off this disease. I allowed what I was doing to become who I was.
Today, I can honestly say that I am a stronger and better person because of the suffering I have endured. My mind has become fixed on beating this disease and paying forward my experiences to those who may be suffering.
I want to leave you with some final thoughts for the day. Do not let your current circumstances prevent you from reaching for your dreams. Remember, as long as you stay fixed on your dreams every setback is just better preparing you for the day your dream does come true.
If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.