Monday Musings: Playing the hand you’re dealt

28 Oct
I've always believed in playing the hand you're dealt in life, to the best of your ability.

I’ve always believed in playing the hand you’re dealt in life, to the best of your ability.

After last week’s Monday Musings post, “Celebrating the difference a year can make,” I received so many emails and messages of support. They all meant so much to me.

One in particular struck close to home as another mom spoke about her own family’s challenges with food-related issues, and how pursuing a new diet and other life changes had made all the difference for their family in the span of a year also.

Another mom-to-be spoke about growing up with a parent who had severe food allergies, and how hard that was, hoping their little one wouldn’t have food allergies.

Yet another congratulated us on our hard work as parents, since she knew first-hand what we’d gone through last year; how hard we fought to find out what was making our daughter so sick and what we could do to help her.

Last year was tough, and it was probably our toughest year yet, although I can think of a close second, a few years back, and another about three years before, and a few others before that. We’ve had lots of challenges with our three kids and their health issues, ranging from the stomach problems to childhood-onset migraines, and even the lesser-known but very challenging abdominal migraines, which are prevalent in girls ages 5-12 with a family history of migraines. Times three, starting at five years old.

It’s a lot to deal with, a lot to navigate as a parent, but I’ve always believed that you have to play the hand you’re dealt in life, and I try not to let those challenges be the thing that defines us as a family. We work hard to advocate for our kids 100% of the time and we work very hard to persevere and rise above those challenges, no matter how hard it is. I used to say that Caroline never really felt good, ever, for years, and most especially throughout most of last year, but that overall, you’d never know it. You wouldn’t know how sick she was feeling most of the time, except on her very worst days when she was so sick she could barely move. And throughout that time, she rose above it and accomplished so much. She pushed through a whole lot of pain, a whole lot of the time.

She’s my hero.

However, I know we’re not the only ones who have had our share of struggles. I know so many parents whose children have challenges as well, whether medical challenges, educational challenges, or whatever their challenges may be. I know we’re not alone, and I know there are lots of families out there, playing the hands they’ve been dealt, working hard to advocate for their kids with doctors, with teachers, in their kitchens, whatever it takes.

You’re all my heroes as well.

I know people dealing with everything and anything from Apraxia to ADHD to food allergies to Autism and everything in between.

It’s not easy. It’s exhausting and overwhelming, but you’re doing it.

A friend of mine from high school has a child with PANDAS, an often unrecognized diagnosis, and one that is life-changing in many ways, including in diet. To say it is a challenging issue to deal with is an understatement. But, she’s doing it, as a family they’re doing it, and I’m so proud of her. I watch as she takes the bull by the horns, not stopping until she has gotten the best answers, best treatment for her son. Again, It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but she’s another parent who is just playing the hand she’s been dealt. I was thrilled a few weeks back, when I saw that she’d petitioned to have a PANDAS Awareness Day made official here in our state. She’s working hard to help her own child and so many others. I know that it makes me happy when something I’ve learned or done when navigating through our own kids’ issues, has helped other people we know who are struggling with the same or similar issues. I know that my friend is helping so many others through her own journey with PANDAS.

So today, I’m thinking of all of you.

It’s a struggle, and sometimes  it seems like you’ll never make it through another day, week or school year, or that you can’t put your child through another medical test, another hours-long educational evaluation, another new doctor’s appointment or participate in another meeting at school.

It’s a lot, but you’re all doing it, we all are, and some day your children will look back and wonder how you did it all, and they’ll be so thankful that you did.

Be strong, hang in there, keep playing your hand, and continue to be my heroes.

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2 Responses to “Monday Musings: Playing the hand you’re dealt”

  1. Emily October 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Kudos to Caroline for soldiering on through it all! A great family-friendly resource on PANDAS can be found at http://pandasnetwork.org/

    • thewholebagofchips October 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Thanks! And thank you for the family-friendly link. It’ll be so helpful to those looking for more information. -Jen

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