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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Have oxygen, will travel


...as long as it doesn't involve flying!

Mom had an appointment today - third of the week. She came down to the farm afterwards for lunch + time with Thomas. We made flight plans for Iowa for Dad, Thomas and me to fly back for the wake + funeral this weekend.

Seems so surreal to be flying back without her.

In hindsight, December was truly a gift. Mom was able to fly home to Iowa, spend time with her family and Grandpa, while he was awake and aware. She was able to tell him just how much she loved him. He was able to tell her just how much she meant to him.

My favorite? He was able to tell her how beautiful she looked.

This summer, after spending a week with all of us in Chelan, she made a renewed commitment to become healthier and stronger. Many of you know that she has dealt with eating disorders throughout her life. After I read this post last week (entitled "Imperfect Perfection") about a friend's journey with her eating disorder, I was moved to tears.

I have very vivid memories of my mom's battle with anorexia and bulimia. Memories of being 5 years old and pounding on the bathroom door, not knowing what was wrong or why I couldn't help my mommy. Flash forward to my senior year in high school - when pneumonia rapidly progressed into total kidney failure, directly attributable to her eating disorders. When she entered the hospital at 95 pounds, with a 50/50 chance of survival.

This is why it was so terrifying when she got pneumonia in December, and they couldn't explain what was happening.

In many ways, eating disorders are much like any other disease. I most often parallel it to alcoholism, in that you deal with it every day for the rest of your life. Each day is a chance to choose health. My mom's successful fight is what propelled her toward getting her masters in counseling and becoming a specialist in eating disorders for others. God has used this battle for great good - though at times, it's been terribly painful.

She went up a size this fall and gained 20 pounds, healthfully. I thank Thomas and Avila for reminding Mom that she is needed for a long time around here.

Her autoimmune disease could have happened to anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. Completely unrelated to her eating. And what I'll never forget?

Her phone call two days after her birthday. When I was crazy sick with the stomach flu and not going anywhere near the hospital or her.

"Shelley, you know, if I hadn't gained that weight this fall, I don't think I would have survived this."

I am so proud of my mom.

So proud that she chose life. That she chose to get stronger. And in that decision this summer, she gave herself protective armor to help when she was in Intensive Care as her own lungs fought her body.

And the very best part to me is that she was able to share that with Grandpa. That he could tell her how beautiful she looked - because I'll tell you, nasal cannula and all, she has never looked more beautiful to me.

So heaven has another soul. And my mom is alive.

And we all feel exceptionally grateful.

2 comments:

Showalters said...

When I saw the pic of your mom and Thomas, I thoght how beautiful, happy/healthy she looked-even with the nasal cannula. Sorry to hear about your grandpa. Safe travels.

Sunday said...

I was thinking the exact same thing....she looks so vibrant and happy!

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