#HAWMC day 27: quotable

I love a good quote. The right one can turn one’s day completely around. It can make you feel strong in the face of a bad day or completely turn your attitude around.

One of my most well-read posts was one where I wrote about the “Litany Against Fear.” It’s one of my favourite posts, so here it is again, for your reading pleasure:

Fear is a funny thing.

Since I am, truth be told, a big nerd, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear or see or write the word fear is a passage from Frank Herbert‘s “Dune.” If you’ve read the book, I’m sure you know the one I’m referring to:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

I won’t lie: Fear is a big part of my life with chronic illness. A lot of what I’m dealing with is unknown: How will I react to [insert medication here]? Will it help me, do nothing, hurt me, or some combination of the three? Is how I’m feeling right now my new normal? Will I ever go into remission? For how long? Will I get worse? Will there be better treatments or, dare I say it, a cure in my lifetime?

The answer to all of those things: I don’t know. And, to be honest, that really bothered me for a long time; in some ways, it probably always will. But nothing is guaranteed for anyone. No one can say for certainty what the next year, next month or even next minute will look like.

But for all of that, I don’t think fear is necessarily a bad thing; without fear, there would be no opportunities for courage. Chronic illness, like fear, need not take away our hopes, loves, dreams.We can be brave and still chase down what we want. Sure, it might look a bit different than we’d hoped, but we can get there. And that realisation—that I can still expect great things from myself—that was huge. Giant, even. And so very precious.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
—Nelson Mandela

mini vacation

I had slacked off recently from reading my “chronique” blogs, the blogs I read when I need to feel like I’m not going through this alone or when I need a bit of grace or humour to get through what is now my reality. I’m bummed that I hadn’t discovered this blog before, “Everything Changes,” about a woman with cancer. Still, I’m glad I found it now.

In a recent post, an upcoming trip to San Fransisco reminds her of times she’s been too sick or poor to travel.

Lucky me that my husband has a kagillion frequent flier miles from work. We’ll be spending time in a cabin stowed away by a fire, napping a ton, and reading to our heart’s content. But I haven’t always been this lucky. There have been many times when I’ve been too sick to travel or could not afford it.  Instead of the luxury of travel, I’d get crafty spending moments around my house or my city that felt like vacations.

Some of the things she liked to do was read (me too!), visit a special coffee shop and sit in a greenhouse. It got me thinking. I’ve been jonesing for a vacation for some time now; I haven’t had one since my honeymoon, really, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be lucky to go on one anytime soon.

That was really bumming me out, but this blog altered my perspective a bit. I mean, I like in a university town surrounded by culture, great parks and amazing coffee shops. Why couldn’t I do some of these things myself? Why couldn’t I figure out something to do that feels like a vacation, but isn’t as taxing or as expensive?

I’ve been to the Morehead Planetarium, but not to look at any of the amazing things they have there. I’d love to stroll around it inside, and maybe even catch one of the stargazing shows. I’ve yet to hit up the Ackland Art Museum, but I would love to go there and just look at all the beauty it contains. The Coker Arboretum is a great place to get back in touch with nature, as are the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Tim and I love to go take pictures at Duke Gardens, but it would be fun, too, to take pictures somewhere we could take the bus to, somewhere that much closer to home.

There are several other places I’d love to go — for instance, caffe Driade and I love, love, love Open Eye Cafe — so there is so much to do around here. Maybe we should approach our town like tourists, and see what we can find here that makes us love it even more.