Moms of special needs children tend to downplay or outright ignore their health. The needs of the child are so great we master the art of caring for them even when our needs are greater. We become so adept at neglecting ourselves for our child we do it without thought. It’s not an attention seeking action it’s survival mode.
Several months ago, I had the unsettling notion something was not right with my health. At first, I had no symptoms. By the time the symptoms arrived, I was in the middle of writing, directing, and choreographing our church Easter play. I love working with the kids and doing dramas.
This one was extra special because it was the first one in which DJ participated.
In God’s providence scheduling conflicts led to the play being done a week before Easter. Any other day and the play would have been canceled.
By performance night, my body screamed for attention. My health refused to be ignored any longer. In a span of about 36 hours, I went from feeling like I might have the flu to unable to get out of bed.
What began as me ignoring a typical kidney infection morphed into a full-blown medical crisis. Words like platelets, blood cancer, leukemia, heart attack, stroke, and premature death engulfed my conversations.
Restricted from any activity, I had ample time to contemplate how I landed on this crudely constructed road. How did I become so violently ill? It didn’t just happen. The answer was clear. I sacrificed my health in the name of being a strong, nurturing mother giving all and taking nothing for myself. Then came the day when the tatters of my Wonder Woman mentality were strewn about my sick bed. Everything changed.
There is a reason airline stewardess instruct us that in the event of an emergency we put our oxygen mask on before putting one on our child. On the surface, the command contradicts the mommy code of putting the child first. However, the point on the plane should be the same in our everyday lives. If we do not take care of ourselves, we will be unable to care for our child. Ignoring our health increases the risk of prolonging or intensifying our illness. By seeking medical care at the first sign of illness we significantly increase our chances of surviving the monster seeking to destroy us.
I’ve not yet fully recovered. Don’t know I ever will.
What I do know is that for ever how many days God gives me upon this earth, I want to encourage others through my mistakes and accomplishments. So, get that mole checked, stop making excuses for the lump in your breast, don’t assume it is a cold that won’t go away and get a physical every year. We take the best care of our kids when we take care of us. Cause to soar as high as she does, even Wonder Woman needs oxygen.
An earlier version of this blog appeared in the Winchester Sun.