THE “D” WORD
When our doctor said she was going to hospitalize my daughter, I asked her to write a prescription for Valium for me. She laughed. I know I often kid around, but I was feeling pretty serious at that moment. I didn’t know how I was going to get through it.
It isn’t just the worst times that cause anxiety either. With IBD, it is constant. We are worrying about symptoms and worrying about medications. Even when our children are in remission, we are concerned about signs of relapse and what we can do to keep them healthy.
All of us dealing with a child with a chronic illness experience a profound loss. Health, which has been a given, is suddenly gone. It had been a gift that we took for granted.
Now, fear has moved into our house, into our dreams. Uncertainty resides everywhere. This stress is hard on everyone involved and its cure is not found at the pharmacy.
We begin a quest, an outer quest to doctors, research, science to find answers and physical remedies and an inner quest to understand the unanswerable.
Often we are so frantic in our outside search that we forget the inner search. In fact, our outer search can be very disconcerting. I get inundated with information then I worry not only about what is happening, but I also worry about what might happen.
I once took my daughter to the doctor because she had a sore throat. I was sure it must be an IBD flare. Guess what? The doctor said she had a sore throat. “How did she get it?” I demanded.
The doctor answered, “She’s entitled.”
Well, maybe I do get a little overanxious. I figure I’m entitled too. But this anxiety takes its toll on everyone. So, how do we get back to inner peace? What gives us the strength to deal with the on-going pressure?
When I was a child we had a giant forsythia bush at the side of our house. (Ok, I was only eight. It seemed really big though.) In the spring it was a huge ball of yellow. I found that when I was feeling negative, angry, anxious, I would go sit quietly next to that bush. Soon my whole mood would change. I stopped thinking about anything but how grateful I was for the springtime, for the yellow blossoms, for the quiet.
Gratefulness has become my meditation. My way back. I have found over time that every season, every place has its beauty, its gifts. I have found that taking a moment to appreciate the beauty calms me. It actually gives me the strength to deal with the rest of the day. And this, for me, is a moment with God.
All religions speak of oneness. It doesn’t matter how you get there, in a congregation at church or in a temple or mosque, in a meditation group or perhaps off by yourself sitting in a park.
It is that moment when you let go of all your worries, expectations, anxieties, and pain. The moment when you feel how much a part of the universe you are, how we all are one. In that moment, there is God, nirvana, enlightenment, peace. The words are not it. The experience is it.
So please, take a moment now and remember the last time you watched the clouds go by. Not with thoughts of a weather report but just in awe of the beauty of the white puffs against the blueness of the sky.
Perhaps you gave names to the shapes drifting overhead. Take a deep breath now and picture that moment. Perhaps you will smile. You may feel the soft breeze blowing anxiety, blowing the pain out of the way for a moment. A moment for you to relax, to feel part of the clouds, to be swept to a quiet place, where there is calm.
And, yes, your child has IBD and, yes, that is stressful, but…in this moment, you can relax. And you will come back with more strength than you imagined you had to deal with life.
As always, I wish you and your child good health and many seasons full of blossoming, yellow forsythias.
Copyright 1996 - 2002 Arlyn Serber