Living with elegance, courage and disability

ICourage and Disability

I welcome a guest post by a wonderful lady called Susan. She displays elegance even though she has a challenging life.

 

We go through challenges throughout our lives, some little and some great; they all teach us about ourselves though and help to empower us to greater things in our everyday life.  To propel us into better human beings and become a gift to the world. 

As a little girl, I spent several summers with my grandmother until I was a teen.  She was a wise lady of elegance, propriety, poise and grace that any child would love and learn from.  My grandmother taught me so much about life and being a lady, I owe most of my good manners, grace and elegance to my grandmother.  There was not a day that did not go by that she was not teaching me how to behave, act and dress as a lady, from sitting like a lady, to being a gracious host.  There was one aspect of her teaching that stayed in my heart to this day, beauty comes from within, not from what you wear, do or act like in public.  This is so true and I have always believed in this statement and live by it.  If you have no confidence in yourself, always putting yourself down and thinking negative about everything, how do you think that looks on the outside of your being?  It makes you pretty dull, I would say.  People can tell too.   Ladies, clothes do not make you elegant, it is what is inside that does. The clothes, makeup, accessories are icing on the cake and that is the sweetest gift of all, knowing that you are a confident, powerful elegant woman inside and out. 

I want to share some of my experience in life with you, maybe it might inspire you, maybe not but it does say that you can still be elegant at any age and under any circumstance.   

At age 15 I was diagnosed with advance open angle Glaucoma, an eye disease that changed my life forever.  When I was diagnosed by a Glaucoma specialist, he stated to me and my mother that I probably had this disease since birth, but since Glaucoma was only checked with the elderly, no one knew I had this disease.  It was an athletic accident that brought me in to see the specialist in the first place.  I was considered an emergency case when I came in to be examined.  What Glaucoma does to the eye is that, if undetected, will destroy your optic nerve and take away your peripheral vision, it then gradually progresses into the central vision and once that occurs, you basically go totally blind.  It is one of those hidden eye conditions.  In my case the disease had already destroyed most of the optic nerve in my right eye, I soon lost all my vision in that eye after surgery.  In the left eye, it left a five degree visual field that left me with vision like looking through a straw, narrow tunnel vision. 

When I found out I had this disease, I was devastated and fell into a deep depressive state, yet I knew there was still life out there to live even with limited vision.  I had to realize I would never be able drive an automobile or other motor vehicles, soon I had to stop riding my bike, I was a biathlete.  Having a good support system did help me get through the difficult times and yes I did have surgery on both eyes, the doctors were able to save some sight in the left eye, the right eye I lost all vision in. 

Even though I was not able to drive or ride my bike anymore I still ran, that kept me emotionally strong and empowered me to not give up.  With what my grandmother taught me, I worked even harder on being confident in myself and doing the best I could for myself, not for others.  This helped me to finish school and go onto college, despite the challenges I would and have faced.

Fast forward to November 2015.  I was again hit hard by another challenge in my life, one that really threatened my life.  I was diagnosed with aggressive T2 High Grade bladder cancer.  I noticed blood in my urine and called my primary physician to schedule an appointment.  He did a UA and found large amounts of blood in my urine.  I was then to have a CT scan and that is where they found the tumor the size of a grapefruit on the right side of my bladder.  My next trip was to the Oncology Urologist and Oncologist.  The Urologist gave me only two options, chemotherapy followed by a radical cystectomy or risk the chance of dying.   Naturally I chose the first option.  Scared as hell when I found out about the cancer, I braced myself for the unforeseen and hoped and prayed that the cancer would be gone with these procedures.  I did lose my hair in the process of chemotherapy treatments.  Confidence did drop but not completely, faith in my higher power and a good support system kept me from losing all hope and I stayed elegant as the lady I am.  I was given the choice to wear a fashionable wig, uh yeah, no, even though there are wigs out there that look very natural looking, I opted for very fashionable head scarves and head scarves I did wear quite well with confidence.  I learned quickly how to tie them on my own so they would not fly off my head on windy days, ladies, you do not want this to happen, lol.  Received many compliments on the various colored scarves I wore.  Throughout all of this I remained calm, peaceful and gracious.  I donated many of my scarves to the cancer center after my hair did grow back, in which I was very blessed, because my hair grew back curly, YES!! I always wanted curly hair.   

The surgery was a ten hour surgery and was successful.  The doctor was able to get all of the cancer out, it just meant that I no longer would have a bladder anymore.  I now have a urostomy bag that is situated outside of my abdomen, it attached to a part of my small intestine, called a “stoma”.  The bag collects my urine and it has a spout at the bottom of the bag in which I can drain it when I feel that it is getting full.  I no longer can tell if I need to urinate because that part of my anatomy is no longer present, the doctor had to reroute my entire intestinal system from my kidneys so that I could still urinate.  The large intestines were not affected, I still can go number two naturally. Lol.  The bag fits nicely under my blouses and pants or skirts and there is no problem when wearing dresses at all.  I found out that there are even fashionable ostomy covers for these bags, I will have to invest in some of those.   

Through all these challenges, I am staying strong, elegant and a lady, I do have my days of course, everyone does, but I bounce back quite quickly, life is too short to be down all the time. 

 

For more on how to live with elegance, click HERE

 

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