The rain started at 4am. A tender thread of water only lasting a few minutes, but it’s tiny patter on the roof was enough to comfort my heart.
It woke me from my heavy-eyed thoughts, a clanky reel replaying the last few days. Days filled with fevers, rigors and a throat that burnt like the sun. Days where time was jelly. Saturday got pulled slinkishly into Sunday. Sunday dissolved altogether. And Monday was a far-off cry of screeching birds. No words or movement, just desperation for relief.
I’ve been sick before, most of last year and this year in fact. Each time it happens I think I’ve reached my limit, but its amazing how long the length of the limit is. Long suffering means a constant quest for solutions. Cancer was so long ago now but it’s certainly left its print on my immune system.
Being sick is not my choice. Not for a minute. Being unwell is not okay. If my friends and family are fed up with hearing about it, imagine just how much more fed up I am with living it.
I want my body to be strong again. Surely this is possible? Can I rise and soar again?
Modern medicine is astonishing. It saved my life once, by a matter of days. It was harsh but there was no time to find a more palatable route. Modern medicine filled my bones with a chemical toxicity that I live with still. Who knows what other long term effects await me? History altered the day I accepted the poison. The very poison that saved me.
Modern medicine in all its power does little to soothe me these days. I am allergic to nearly all antibiotics. I’ve become immune to most painkillers. I’m sure my kidneys and liver don’t like all the medicine I’ve sent their way.
When I had leukaemia people talked about how brave I was. Being called brave doesn’t sit well when you have no choice in the matter. I fought just like anyone else would do. Maybe we’re all brave, we just don’t get called it until we endure what has to be endured.
Now, after the test of time, I’d rather be called strong. Clearly not strong in body, but strong in my will to regain my health. Strong in heart. There’s a steely lion roaring in my soul. It gives me fierce courage to wake every morning and try again. It’s a strength that taps life on the shoulder and says Hey! I’m turning up!
Being strong is achieving the life you want to live in spite of the obstacles. Being strong is being creative when you’ve only got ugly materials to work with. Being strong is giving life to children, nurturing the sweetness of their existence even if it means the weakening of yours.
Which means so many of you are stronger than you think. If you endure pain in your heart, your body, your mind – you are strong. If you want to be desperately alive, you are strong.
The momentary hush of rain at 4am soothed me more than any drug could. It was followed by a whooping wind. One that rattles the gutters, swoops up leaves, and causes the ground to tremble. In the dead of night it was invigorating. The world is alive! I am alive. Strong and beating.