L is for…

It’s been a while folks although, for me it honestly feels like a flash! To say it’s been busy with me is an understatement! Moving house is certainly a challenge but moving countries, all be it a small distance, provides some extra little challenges along the way. Somewhere in between packing, bubble wrap and boxes, I seem to have also been swamped with a whole new set of ‘to do’ lists, people to phone and address details to update and that’s in between looking after an increasingly energised 16 month old whilst also balancing that silly old ‘F Word’. But it’s all good and as I constantly tell everyone, it could be worse.
In fact, that little phrase, “It could be worse”, brings me nicely to this month’s letter and that is ‘L’ – ‘L’ is for, lucky!
Since we decided to make the big move ‘back home’, so many of our friends have told us how they’ll miss us but how ‘lucky’ we are to get the chance to move closer to family and friends. You know what? That is so true! I think sometimes we don’t realise how lucky we are in life and all to often, things easily get taken for granted! Maybe it’s because of my own, personal experience with the ‘F Word’ but ironically, in dealing with all the negatives it brings, ‘The F Word’ helps me to appreciate how lucky I am in other aspects of life.
All too often, we all listen to people moan or groan about things they don’t have or about how, what they have might not be enough. In some ways I think it ironically takes something big, or even bad to happen, for us to realise the good that surrounds us. So, in this instance, I think that yes, my ‘F Word’ sucks. There is nothing nice about it. However, on the upside, living and dealing with a condition like Frederichs Ataxia means that I’m one of the lucky ones. It means that through all the pain, the fatigue and loss of balance and in the midst of loosing my ability to walk independently, I can see my blessings very clearly. I try really hard to focus on the positives and not the negatives. In that respect, I have to agree with all those people who’ve told me recently that I’m lucky because yes, I am!
Now I’ve also met people along this journey who perhaps don’t share my positive outlook. I’ve had people refer to my condition as a ‘life sentence’ or people who question my decision to do something that they think might be inappropriate for me, being of course disabled. It still shocks me that people hold such narrow minded outlooks in this modern era! For example, when I was pregnant with Tíernan, I had to deal with a few disapproving comments like, “Oh gosh, that’s going to be a tricky one for you” (translated roughly as, should you really be having children in your ‘condition’?) I could go on and cite many more examples, but who wants to hear that rubbish hey?! That would only be me moaning and groaning and I can’t do that if I’m concentrating on being lucky!
Of course we all have to be allowed a wee moan or two. It’s therapy isn’t it?! It gets things off our chest. I guess what I’m trying to say is that to try and think before you complain next time. Are you moaning over something that really could be worse? Ask yourself, What are the positives? I bet in more instances than not, the pros will outweigh the cons.
It’s funny when I chat to people generally, especially when they enquire how I am or even when I have to explain ‘The F Word’ to them. So many people often react with negative tales of how similar conditions they’ve had experience of have effected them, or others known to them. Or sometimes I get response of pity. Neither response annoys me to be honest. I just think everyone is different and everyone deals with things differently. Equally, not everyone is dealing with my ‘F Word’ (Frederichs Ataxia) but everyone has their own ‘F Word’ to deal with; be it large or small. Everything is relative to us as individuals but if we aim to think more positively and count ourselves lucky, then I really think that’s half the battle!
 Being ‘back home’ is in some ways strange because as I go out and about I find myself sometimes reminiscing about places I’d have gone to before, completely independently previous to going away. Or maybe remembering a route I used to walk or cycle. That was really only just over seven years ago and it’s scary how much things have changed since. I guess none of us know what’s around the corner for us and for that matter, maybe that’s best. I try hard though not to dwell on what was or indeed what is; at least where ‘the bad’ is concerned. Keeping focused on the positives and counting my lucky stars and not the unlucky ones, goes a long way towards my aim to defeat my ‘F Word as best as I can.

So until next time folks, keep listing those pros and counting your blessings. As my Granda used to say, “It’s a long road that has no turning!”

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