I have a friend—a fellow writer—who sold it all, packed up, and moved to a foreign country this year with her nearly blind 90-year-old mother and a little French poodle named Prose. Impressive, right?
Alison took it all step-by-step, sharing the ups and downs along the way with her Facebook followers and newsletter subscribers. Mostly “ups” because what’s not to love about beautiful scenery, village life, starting over, and being inspired to write about it? And, living in the country where the subject of her historical novels takes place.
In a recent newsletter, she shared how she’s dealt with a series of recent “aggravations”.
1. Alison was robbed of her cellphone, wallet, charge cards, and their passports in one fell swoop.
2. The US Social Security system says that they overpaid her and now they want their money back.
3. Half of her newsletter subscribers were “unsubscribed” in one day by a glitch within the system of the very well-known newsletter service that she uses. Zap. Gone.
Being an eternal optimist, Alison focused on positive ways to dig out from under this mess without getting discouraged. She told herself these were merely aggravations. They weren’t real problems.
“Cancer is a real problem. Your house sliding down a hill is a real problem,” she wrote.
That got my attention.
“Cancer is a real problem.”
But you know what? I’ve had cancer, and I’d rather have had cancer than those three “aggravations”.
Why? Because when I learned I had cancer, it felt like it was happening to someone else. My general practitioner gave me the news over the phone on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
“OK. What do I need to know? What do I do? What’s first? ” I responded.
I listened carefully, made a list, and proceeded to research the “who-what-where” that were going to help me.
After the research part, I was able to trust my decision and give the responsibility for the cure to my health providers. Done.
I didn’t even cry. Not even once. Some people might think that’s not a healthy response, but for me, it was important to think of my cancer problem as something survivable by means of educated professionals doing the hard work while I lay there receiving the care—not quite like a guinea pig—but sort of.
It’s been six and a half months from diagnosis to completed healing.
A few days ago, my last open wound has sealed and healed.
Of course, it hasn’t been easy. Parts of this cancer stuff are a real bitch. I’m still fairly new to the place where I live, so I didn’t have a support system here. I spent a lot of time lying alone in my bed, waiting for sunset.
I love to read. I love to write. I had no motivation to do either. I couldn’t even enjoy watching Netflix, and I haven’t yet turned on the TV in 2018.
But still, if I had to deal with a robbery, a federal department screw-up, and a computer glitch with negative ramifications, I’m pretty sure I’d have taken to my bed, having a good long cry under the covers.
The difference between dealing with cancer and dealing with bureaucracy is that I would have had to deal with the bureaucratic issues all by myself.
Does any of this make sense?
I guess what I mean is that I never felt fearful or stressed about the cancer, but I’d feel very fearful and stressed if I had to make a lot of phone calls (I hate phone calls) and push a lot of sensitive paperwork to restore my life.
I know that Alison (Check out her website here: www.alisontaylorbrown.com) has probably gotten it all sorted out by now because she has an amazing attitude when faced with high seas.
She’s an inspiration, and that’s what we all need: inspiration from other people, showing us that if they can do it, we can do it, too. We may not be side by side, but we’re virtually together on this planet. At some point, we all need inspiration from someone like Alison to get us through the deep water.
I’m hoping for the water to recede soon.
Thanks for listening.