In Defense of the Introvert

introvert

“One is the loneliest number…” – Harry Nilsson

For a long time I have thought that there was something wrong with me (well, apart from the obvious, of course) and it has only been in the last twelve months or so that I have discovered that it’s not true.

You see, I am an introvert.

Most of my life I have wondered why I preferred my own company to that of others, why I would rather spend a night home reading then go to a party.  I wondered why having lunch or even just coffee with friends was such an ordeal and why, after forcing myself to socialise, I always felt drained and couldn’t wait to shut myself away again.

Was I a narcissist?  Selfish?  A snob?

As a child I was classified as shy and was forced to confront my shyness and overcome it.  Apparently being shy is a character flaw.  But this only made my need for solitude more acute.

As a young wife and mother working as a Beauty Therapist, I struggled to understand why, when I got home and my husband and children wanted my attention, all I wanted was to be left alone for an hour or so.  For years I felt I was letting them down or that I was somehow damaging the bond between myself and my children.

20150412_200458964_iOSNow I realise that I was working in an industry that made me spend at least eight hours a day up close and personal with other people.  I was literally in their personal space, touching them, and they were in mine, all day.  As an introvert, it left me so depleted that all I wanted to do was run and hide from the world.

Losing a close family member, grieving, living with depression and anxiety have forced me to really look at what makes me tick, to find what it is that I need so that I can find my equilibrium and function like a normal human being.

I have been a journey of self discovery over these last twelve months or more and have finally been able to make peace with that one part of myself that has always eluded me.  I am an introvert and I am proud of it.

The topic of introvert vs extrovert has become a popular one recently, or perhaps it’s just something I have become more aware of as I discover this thing about myself – a case of always seeing cars like your new car.  And the more I come to understand what makes me tick, the more I realise that it’s not one versus the other, but more a spectrum thing.

But before we get into that, I should probably explain to you my own definition of the difference between introverts and extroverts.

In my experience (limited, I’ll admit, but being an introvert myself and being married to an extrovert, I have had some experience in the two camps) the difference lies in where you get your energy from.  For example: Introverts tend to gain energy from being alone and being in a crowd drains them of energy.  The opposite is true of extroverts – they get energy from the people around them and being alone drains them.

 

iStock_000020985299XXLarge.jpgDoes this mean that an introvert never wants to be around people?  No.  What it means is that when you realise why being around people is so draining, you can manage it better.  Nobody lives in a vacuum and we all need community – even us introverts – but if you know that being in a group is going to tire you out, you can bank some energy beforehand and even plan to have some alone time afterward to restore what has been depleted.

Being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you’re shy, either.  I know of introverts who are more than happy to share their opinions loudly and proudly.  I, myself, used to love to perform on stage and considered a career in dance when I was younger – despite my being an introvert who was also shy around new people.

Being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you are weak, either.  Despite my battles with grief, depression and anxiety, I believe I have a deep strength, a resilience that means I can keep moving forward in spite of the things that try to pull me down.  I also have strong opinions and a strong work ethic and don’t you even try to start something with my husband or my kids because then I’ll be barrelling down on you like a wounded momma bear.

As I eluded to earlier, I also believe that we all have aspects of both in us and it’s more of a spectrum than one versus the other.  I happen to be very much towards the introvert end and my husband is probably my match on the extrovert end.  In other words, I need more alone time than people time and he needs more people time than alone time.

And that’s okay.

Ocean at night

It is actually quite liberating to understand this about myself, especially when for so long I thought I was defective.  And it’s good that my husband understands it too because it means we can give each other what we need.  I can identify when he needs people time – his mood gets low and he becomes less like himself – and he can identify when I need to leave a party – I become agitated and withdrawn.  We can support each other without judgement, especially when we understand each other’s needs.

And that’s the key here.  Understanding that not everyone is like you or has the same needs as you.  When you can identify what you need, what makes you tick, then you can be more understanding and accepting of what someone else in your life needs.

I titled this post “In Defense of Introverts” because for a long time I felt that this part of me made me a lesser person, a person who could never succeed because of this terrible fault in my makeup.  But there are a lot of recent studies that disprove this long-held belief of mine.  Being an introvert doesn’t determine my success or failure.  Being an introvert doesn’t make me a lesser person.

Knowing that I am an introvert and knowing how to manage it means that my options are open, it means I can have a successful career and I can have a long and happy marriage (even though I’m married to my complete opposite) and that I can educate my children on their own introvert and extrovert tendencies so that they can have successful careers and happy marriages.

It all comes down to knowing yourself and using that knowledge effectively.

 

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The Raven, The Black Dog & The Hare

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I have three companions
The Raven, the black dog and the hare
Always they follow me
Plaguing my every step

The raven’s cry
Reminding me of what I’ve lost
The black dog
Waiting to pull me down

And the hare
With its twitching ears
And shifting eyes
Ready to run

The Raven

The Raven, as so aptly described by Poe, is to me the symbol of my grief.  Sometimes it sits quietly on my shoulder, sometimes it digs in its claws and screeches in my ear.  Other times it flies high above and behind my with only its shadow or its plaintive cry reminding me of it’s presence known in my life.  But the Raven is always there and I have no doubt that it always will be.

The Black Dog

The Black Dog has become a well-known symbol of depression.  I am no stranger to this companion, he has followed me throughout most of my life.  But again, he is not always growling and chomping at me, some days he walks quietly beside me, some days he lags behind.  He is always there, sometimes only at the edge of my vision, but always there.

The Hare

While the Raven and the Black Dog are recognised symbols, the Hare may not be.  For me the Hare symbolises anxiety.  The constant fidgeting, the flicking eyes and twitching ears, the preparedness to flee at the slightest provocation.  This is a constant state for me.  The nervous state is always just under the surface, like an itch beneath my skin.  The smallest, seemingly insignificant, things can bring it to the surface and like the Hare, I flee.

It seems like these days, although the Raven and the Black Dog are always there but sometimes less prominent, the Hare is constantly at my side.  It doesn’t fade into the background, its effects don’t ebb. The simple act of getting out of bed in the morning requires Herculean effort, the desire to bury my head under the covers and hide away from the day, almost overpowering.

Living with anxiety is often dismissed.  Just get over it, get some confidence, grow up, face your fears, grow a pair.  These flippant comments often do more hurt than good.  Anxiety is not something you can just ‘get over’, it is a serious mental health issue that can lead to further complications and conditions.

A lot of people don’t get how I feel, don’t understand why it is so hard to be face to face with another person.  The fear of walking out their front door is foreign to them.  It’s such an easy thing to do, you just open it and walk out.  But anxiety isn’t rational, it isn’t logical.

Anxiety bypasses the reasonable part of the brain and goes directly to the flight or fight mechanism.  Everything is perceived as a threat.  At the height of an anxiety attack, the brain and body is at DEFCON 5 and there is almost no way to talk it down.

Living with anxiety is like living with someone who has a twitchy trigger finger, and you are one sudden move away from setting off world war three.

I say all this to perhaps help others understand anxiety and the effects of it on a person and to maybe help someone who is suffering from anxiety to understand that they are not alone and they are not beyond help.  You can live a happy and healthy life with the Raven, the Black Dog and the Hare, but it takes understanding and management.  And being kind to yourself.

My plan this year is to write regularly about how I manage my life and my constant companions in the hopes that I can help someone else.  We need to know we are not alone in this.

The Importance of Being Labelled

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Labels are important…let me clarify that, well defined labels are important.
We moved house recently, and let me tell you, a box that is labeled with ‘stuff’ or not labeled at all can cause a few problems. We used recycled boxes, so they already had other people’s labels on them and they did not necessarily reflect what I was putting in the box, so they had to be relabelled, but even that was confusing…which label was correct? Consequently, I am now surrounded in boxes with no labels, incorrect labels, misleading labels and those that are precisely labelled and I have no idea where anything is!
I have a bit of a organisational bent…I love having things in precise lines, I alphabetise my books and DVDs and, if I had my way, each box would be labelled, numbered and entered into a spreadsheet that listed all the items in he box, but I live in a family who don’t see things the way I see them.  I like to have specific drawers for specific kitchen utensils, but unless I am prepared to always do the dishes and put them away, my kitchen never stays organised and I get frustrated.  I’m sure my family does it on purpose just so I will tell them to leave it, but I’m on to them!
Although I have a love of labels and lists and like to have specific homes for specific things, I have always hated being labelled myself.  I have had a very varied and eclectic career life from retail to beauty to I.T to graphic design to cafe owner.  I like my options to remain open, there are so many things I want to do and want to experience that being labelled and put in a box grates against me.  I even struggle against the labels of ‘mother’ and ‘wife’, although I love being both of those, I don’t want to be ‘only’ those things.
We live in a society that also rebels against labels, people don’t like to be put in a box and told that this is all they are. It feels somehow restraining to be told you are an A when you may be more than just an A. If we are always told we are an A, we may never discover that we can also be a B.
Despite individuals disliking being labelled, society likes to use labels to help categorise people.  We are all so diverse that it is practically impossible for governments to deal with us on an individual basis, so we have to be lumped into people groups and socioeconomic boxes just so those who are running the country can try to meet our needs. Unfortunately this is not always helpful or particular effective and as much as I hate being labelled, in some cases, we need to be.
Nobody likes to be incorrectly or cruelly labelled. Just like labelling a box with ‘stuff’ doesn’t do it justice, labelling a person as stupid or useless or even fat doesn’t do the person justice. But some labels are vitally important. Food labels, medication labels, poison labels all these are necessary and good. They acknowledge what is inside and warn about potential problems. And imagine if tinned foods didn’t have labels? How many would you have to open to find what you were after?
Just looking at the labelling laws and the legislation that is created to ensure food is labelled correctly goes a long way to proving how important labels are. We all want to know what we are getting, we want it to be clear and truthful and in that way labels are good.
I am a diabetic…it only hit me as I was packing my boxes to move that I am a diabetic. I have type 2 diabetes and for some reason I have not been able to acknowledge that this is a real disease and the implications it will and does have on the length and quality of my life. Maybe it is because it gets beat up on in the media as being self inflicted or a byproduct of obesity, but my inability to label myself as a diabetic has meant that I have not taken it seriously, have not seen myself as someone who is suffering from a potentially life shortening disease and therefore have not been treating myself accordingly.  As much as I hate being labelled, this is an important one.  I need to be labelled as a diabetic so that I can get the treatment and medication I need, I need to be labelled as diabetic so that I can take the steps needed to ensure I live as long and as healthfully as possible. By denying the label I am not doing myself any justice and I am robbing myself and my family.
Acknowledging the label scares me.  By acknowledging myself as a diabetic, I then have a responsibility to take care of myself. Acknowledging the label means being accountable…and that’s a whole other issue.

Designing My Own Catastrophe

My doctor yelled at me yesterday and made me cry.

I had a regularly scheduled check up for my Type II Diabetes and it didn’t go well.

I have an excuse…I’m grieving.

That wasn’t a good enough excuse for my doctor and she wanted to know what it was going to take for me to start taking care of myself.

Good question…

…one that I don’t have an answer for.

I had a bit of a meltdown when I got home.  My husband and I had a fight. I railed about all the reasons why I am having such a hard time getting control of my disease.  All valid, all reasonable and all completely and unreservedly empty.

Later when I had calmed down and was feeling a little less sorry for myself, I asked myself the question.  Why am I not taking my health seriously?  Why am I not looking after myself?

I still don’t know.  I don’t know why I find it so hard to do what I know my body needs.  I don’t know why I find it so hard to remember to take my medication.  My doctor wants me to see a psychologist, suggesting that there is a block in my mind as to why I am struggling with this.  Maybe, but I don’t think I am the only one that struggles to take care of themselves.  I don’t think it is an unusual thing at all.

We hear all the time about people having heart attacks that doctors say could have been prevented.  As a society we work too hard, work too long, eat crap, let stress rule our lives, drink too much, drive too fast and generally live lives that lack care and consideration for our health.  Why is my situation any different?

We all have excuses for why we live the way we do and why we don’t look after ourselves.  Whether it is because we feel we have to look after others first, or whether we think we have time for that later when we have achieved A,B & C.  Some of us feel that we don’t deserve to be healthy or happy, some of us see looking after ourselves as selfish, still others of us want someone else to look after us.  It may be laziness, lack of willpower, a feeling of being bullet proof or even a martyr complex, whatever it is, we are designing our own catastrophe.

How Do You Say Goodbye?

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How do you say goodbye to someone who has brought so much love and joy into your life? How do you say goodbye to someone who has become as much a part of your family as a natural born child? How do you say goodbye to the girl who made your son’s life complete?

My beautiful, precious and courageous daughter-in-law passed away today. She has fought valiantly for the last 25 years against Cystic Fibrosis, determining in her heart that it would never define her life. She has travelled the world, she loved to dance and she lived life with passion. And her last words to the world were “Love all people, Respect Others and be Grateful for the little things in life. Peace out.”

Kari-Lee and my son Tom met a little over two years ago and married in December last year. They fell in love and although they knew their life together would be not the norm, they made the best of it.

Kari-Lee was quite sick for the ten months of their marriage and in June this year received, what we thought, was going to be a life saving double lung transplant. All the signs were positive after the surgery and she recovered faster than most. Finally we thought that these two young people, who were so in love, would get their happily ever after. Unfortunately it was not to be. About two months after the transplant, at a routine clinic check up, they found a shadow on her new lungs. What followed was eight and a half weeks of alternating good news and bad.

Throughout it all Kari-Lee and Tom held strong to their Christian faith, believing for a miracle. When the doctors gave up hope and told them there was nothing more they could do, Tom and Kari kept on believing. They showed us so much, taught us so much, right up until the end when Kari took the time to thank her husband and family and friends for their support.

Throughout this journey we have been so overwhelmingly blessed by the people who have prayed, offered support and donated money. People that knew Tom and Kari through work, people he played soccer with and those who knew Kari through dance and those in their church and who went to school with them gave so much support and in return, I think, we all learned something.

We learned what love really looks like. We learned what strength and courage looks like. We learnt about joy in the midst of strife and we learnt to treasure every single moment that we have with those that we love.

It puts life into perspective. Seeing someone struggling with life and death makes you realize what is important in life. Spending quality time with your loved ones should never be taken for granted.

So, how do you say goodbye to the person who has meant so much to so many people? The person who touched so many lives? The person who changed your own life? How do you say goodbye?

Discovering the Diabetic Diet – What The Hell Do I Eat?

Discovering-the-Diabetic-Diet

With having recently being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes (see this post for full details), one of the many things in my life that had to change was what I eat.  Because of my previous bad experiences with diets I had avoided going to the doctor even though I knew I had crossed the line into diabetes.  I was scared that I could not sustain a diabetic diet and that I would fail as I had with every other diet I had been on.  I eat a fairly healthy and varied diet and as a cook and a foodie I thoroughly believe in trying to eat as much fresh food as possible and cooking from scratch wherever I can, but this diagnosis meant that I had to be more vigilant, stricter with the ingredients that I chose to cook with.  Quite honestly, I had no idea where to start.  I have preconceived ideas about what a diabetic diet looks like:

  • No Fat
  • No Sugar
  • No Salt

Basically bland and unappetising.  These three ingredients are what give food flavour and mouth-feel and isn’t that the reason we enjoy food?  This seemed devastating to me.  I am a foodie.  I love food, I love cooking and experimenting with food and I work in the food industry.  I couldn’t imagine having to forgo delicious food for the rest of my life.  I know this seems shallow and irresponsible, but the majority of my life revolves around food.  I work with it every day, I blog about it, I pin it and obviously, I eat it.  Yes, I’ve dieted before, in fact I’ve tried them all and having to restrict certain foods has always been the hardest thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat much fast food/junk food, but it is the other types of food that are restricted.  I love fresh fruit, but some diets tell you to restrict fruit, some even say to cut it out altogether.  I also like red meat, rare and juicy, a lot of diets tell you to avoid red meat.  There are diets that tell you to only drink powdered shakes and low card bars and cookies but these always contain chemical ingredients that go against my belief in lots of fresh food and leave a bad taste in my mouth.

My doctor didn’t give me any guidelines as to what I was to eat, just a phone number to ring to sign up for some education classes.  I am a bit of a nerd so the first thing I did was go to my friend the internet.  Now the internet is the type of friend that pretty much tells you what you want to hear, whether it is the truth or not.  I’m sure there is some sort of study that shows that the answers we get on our search engines has a lot to do with our previous searches, our interests and our social media accounts.  I can’t prove that of course, but I do believe that to get to the real answers we want, beyond our biases, we need to ask questions a whole lot of different ways and go beyond the first page of search results.  There is a lot of misinformation on the internet and I am an advocate of not believing everything you read.  Every so called “fact” and “claim” needs to be backed up by two, three or more supporting facts and claims.  I also don’t put much stock in personal testimonies of products because I know how easy it is to fake them.  It would be therefore hypocritical of me to let you read this blog and think of it as gospel truth.  I am not a scientist, doctor or other medical professional.  All I have is my own experience and my own research. I encourage you to do your own research and see what answers you find that work for you.

The more research I do the more I am finding that different things work for different people and this is not wholly unreasonable.  Our world is small now but not that very long ago it was quite a bit bigger.  People groups had widely varying diets depending on where they lived.  Before we were able to transport food products across country and across the sea, people had to eat seasonally and regionally.  Now our cultures are merged and food is a lot more readily available in and out of season and we think that there must be a single solution to the health problems we face.  I don’t agree.  I believe, from my own experience and from the experiences of others, that our bodies are so intricately complex and diverse that it only makes sense that we need multiple solutions.  When I was younger I thought that if I ate exactly what my skinny friends ate then I would be skinny.  It didn’t work.  Their metabolic rates, hormone levels and other complex inner workings were different to mine.  Why are some children naturally slim or even super skinny, and others are more robust and fatter?  It is a question which has plagued me my entire life and the only logical solution I can come up with is that we are not all cut from the same cloth.  The extension of that answer is that different bodies respond differently to the food they ingest.  But as I said earlier, I am no doctor and the real answers to these questions are beyond my limited understanding.

So armed with nothing more than my wits and my cynical scepticism, I entered the fray of the Google search.  I have long since held to the belief that the “Food Pyramid” that we were taught as children is baloney.  Unfortunately too many hands were in the pie that created that particular piece of nutritional information and what was originally meant to be a good thing was basically hijacked by special interest groups who had billions of dollars invested in the food industry (wow, that did sound cynical).  If you are interested in finding out more about how the Food Pyramid came about here are some links:

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/09/invented-food-pyramid/ – This is a clear explanation of how the food pyramid came about

http://www.liftbigeatbig.com/2012/11/a-history-of-food-pyramid-corporate.html – I don’t completely agree with everything written in this post, but it has some very valid points.  I especially like the sentences relating to farming cows on pastured land and feeding them grass instead of grain.  I have issues with the way we farm our meat sources, but that is a topic for another post.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_guide_pyramid – From Wikipedia

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/pyramid-full-story/ – This is the Harvard version of the food pyramid and a bit of explanation about how it came about.

You may notice that I didn’t include any positive links about the food pyramid.  That is because they all come from sources that have significant resources invested in it.  When you put money on the line, of course you are going to back it up. (Again the cynic in me).  If you are interested in that information (and you should be to get an unbiased view), a simple Google search on the food pyramid will give you ample results.

So with my aversion to the food pyramid idea, I cautiously began my research in the most obvious place – Diabetes Australia.  I have to say I was disappointed.  I was looking for a simple eating plan, something to get me started so I knew what foods to eat, when to eat them and approximate kilojoule intakes.  None of that was available on the website (well none that I could find anyway).  There were a few recipes, but not nearly enough for me to create a lifestyle from.  They have information regarding the food groups and how that relates to diabetics, but that didn’t actually help me determine what I should eat, how much I should eat and when I should eat.  I suppose that is what the education appointment is for, but I had a whole week and a half before I could attend a session, so what was I supposed to eat in the meantime?

I knew I had to cut out refined sugar so that is where I started.  Apart from the obvious sugary foods, there is also hidden sugar in a lot of packaged foods, so they all had to go.  I made the decision to only cook with fresh/frozen ingredients – no more bottled sauces/marinades/salad dressings, no more recipe bases or packet mixes.  I also knew I would have to avoid refined carbohydrates and other high glycaemic index foods.  Bread is my weakness.  I love bread – fresh bread, thick bread, toasted bread, bread rolls.  I have avoided bread for a lot of my life because a. I know I have a weakness for it and b. I always feel clogged up when I eat too much.  My compromise is to only eat good quality bread that is full of whole grains and rye.  The reason I mention bread is because I also realised that I would need to start eating breakfast before I went to work so that I could take my medication.  For most people this is not a big deal, but for me it meant having to get up at 3:45am instead of 4:00am and finding something that I would feel like eating at that time of the morning…toast and vegemite was the answer.  Yoghurt and muesli are also good breakfast foods.  I make my own toasted muesli using coconut oil, honey & maple syrup so I know the fat and sugar content and I only use Greek yoghurt.

So this brings me to a whole other issue…the times that I eat.  As I mentioned, I start work early, so usually I don’t eat until 9:00am or 10:00am, and then I would struggle to eat lunch but by 3:00pm I would be ravenous and then at dinner time I wouldn’t feel like eating and then I am in bed by 8:30pm.  Now I had to eat before 4:00am so I could take my tablets, which meant lunch that I was hungry again by 10:00am or 11:00am.  Not wanting to eat lunch this early, I have been making myself a superfood smoothie.  Smoothies can be a bit of a trap for the uninitiated.  If you are purchasing them from a café or shop, they can be full of hidden sugars and fat.  A lot of places use packet mixes for their smoothies, but we never have.  I have experimented with a lot of smoothie recipes and have come up with one that I find delicious and also healthy.  Based on Coconut water, I add Acai, blueberries, banana, yoghurt and rolled oats.  I also add some supplements – Supergreens powder (a mix of spirulina, wheatgrass, chlorella and barley grass) and Macca Powder.  This smoothie lets me get through until about 1:00pm when I then have lunch.

Lunch has always been a tough one for me, I never know what to eat.  If I was working from home I would normally eat a frozen meal, but with my decision to not eat pre-packaged food I had to go to the trouble of making something.  Chicken and salad sandwiches and tuna and salad sandwiches have become my go to, but it also means I am now eating more bread.  It’s a quandary!  For now, I am doing it, sometimes swapping the bread for a wrap, and I am monitoring the effects on my body.  I am making sure there are plenty of salad ingredients on my sandwich so that my body is getting more vegetables than bread, so hopefully this will be successful (so far so good).

I still have the 3:00pm blues.  I don’t know what it is, but everyday around the same time I get the urge to graze.  I have curbed this to some degree by having herbal tea – Lemongrass and Ginger.  Surprisingly this has been very satisfying both physically and mentally.  I also find a banana helps.

This brings me to dinner.  There have been both positives and negatives with my new eating resolves.  The positives are I get to experiment with fun ingredients and have produced some really delicious meals.  The down side is that it means I have to cook every night.  No more lazy night dinner, no more take away and, thus far, my husband has been too intimidated by the rules to attempt to cook.

So this is a start.  More fresh fruits and vegetables, more fish, less carbohydrates, no refined sugar.  I think the biggest change for me has been to eat intentionally…to pay attention to what I am putting in my body, not to eat automatically, but to enjoy my food, savour it and to listen to the cues my body is giving me – paying attention to how my body reacts to the foods I eat.  To date I have found the transition fairly easy, a few headaches to start with as my body adjusted, but generally I have felt pretty good and I have lost weight (nearly 6 kilograms in four weeks), can’t complain about that.

Crispy-Skinned-Salmon

Crispy Skin Salmon

Blue-Grenadier-en-Papillote

Blue Grenadier en Papillote

Crispy-Skinned-Duck

Crispy Skin Duck

Homemade Muesli

Homemade Muesli

Diary Interrupted

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When I started journaling my experiences with diabetes I had all intentions of writing a post every week describing my trials, tribulations and triumphs as I navigated my diagnosis.  But, as often happens in life, my plans were interrupted and our family was thrown into a bit of chaos as a more imminent threat revealed itself.

My beautiful daughter-in-law received a diagnosis of her own and it was way more devastating than mine.  I wrote a post a few months ago telling hers and my sons story.  Two days after that post, Kari-Lee had a double lung transplant and everything went amazingly well.  We were all so over the moon at how smoothly everything went and over the next few months, things just kept on getting better.  And then it didn’t.  At a routine clinic appointment, they found a shadow on Kari-Lee’s new lungs.  The bacteria that had destroyed her old lungs was back. She was admitted in to hospital and they tried to beat it with antibiotics, but after a week the bacteria had grown.  Kari had to go into surgery and have two lobes of her right lung removed.  Since then we have been rallying as a family to support her through this.

As you can understand, my diagnosis took a back seat.  I could have easily become very inward looking and self focussed, but this crisis has made me look outward (and upward) and has shown me that although I thought I was being brave to face up to my own health issues, there are people out there who are braver still.  My daughter-in-law has shown me what it really means to be brave as she has decided to keep fighting when the doctors have given her very little hope.  She has an inner strength that continues to believe she can beat this and we have stood with her and joined her in believing for a miracle.  I don’t often talk about my faith in my blog, but I cannot tell this story without mentioning how we have clung to God over these past few weeks, praying and believing for a miracle.

The bacteria is still waging a war in Kari-Lee’s body but she fights on still and we, who feel so utterly helpless, stand by and fight with her with prayer and supplication to our God believing for healing and wholeness.  This story is far from over and we are committed to stand in the gap and hold up Kari-Lee when she feels weary and go into battle on her behalf.  That’s just what family do.