Judy Mandel

Judy L. Mandel

Replacement Child

Remembering Who You Are Through Illness

Sometimes it's hard to hold on to yourself through an illness.

Posted Jan 30, 2014

To make a very long story a bit shorter, let's start with the fact that I've had four surgeries in the past eight months due to complications with Crohn's disease. Anyone that has had any kind of surgery knows that it is like entering a long dark tunnel and searching each day for glint of light, a reflection of your old life. For me, it has also been a struggle to believe that my old life was still out there waiting for me. Each new symptom convinced, and still convinces me, that there is yet another problem ready to rear its head. I'm working on it, I swear.

The best advice I got during this time was from one of the many home care nurses who came each day to pack my wounds. She had gone through open heart surgery herself and knew from my demeanor during her visit, and possibly the tears in my eyes, what I was going through.

"Just try to hold on to yourself," she said. "Let everyone do what they have to do to your body, but remember you are still you inside and you will have your life back after all of this."

It was the only time I saw her. On a weekend when the service has various nurses filling in. I have to believe she was sent to tell me this message. It is one that I still turn to when I am overwhelmed by the road I still have to travel to recovering fully. I wish I could thank her, but maybe passing on her message to someone who reads it here is good enough.