It's Not About the Diagnosis

I had recently been feeling overwhelmed and victimized by Chloe's special needs. I was feeling a little bit like Chloe's diagnosis had stolen the life I had planned and completely taken over everything. I felt like everything I had ever wanted had been indefinitely delayed because of Chloe's developmental delays and I did not like feeling as though I had no control in my own life.

Well, I learned long ago that when I start to feel like a victim, I have to dig deep and find a way to become the victor instead.

In this case, I was stumped.... I felt defeated. But I didn't stop trying. I kept seeking a way to overcome these feelings. My answer finally came when I was looking for something to uplift a friend who is battling cancer. I found this print: What Cancer Cannot Do. Its message spoke to me.

Please don't misunderstand. I'm not trying to compare Cerebral Palsy to cancer. Cancer is undoubtedly a much different battle. But I believe the underlying message of that inspirational print works with any diagnosis. When I read it, the victim within me was quickly diminished by a new sense of empowerment.

Yes, Cerebral Palsy has changed things, but it has not won and it will not win. It has given Chloe disabilities that have affected our lives, but it has not and will not disable our ability to live a happy and fulfilling life. It has not and cannot take away anything that really matters!

In honor of this new-found sense of empowerment, I created this word art. It is nearly identical to the cancer print, so just know that I'm taking absolutely no creative credit for this.

It has been a gift to realize/remember that Chloe and our life is not about Cerebral Palsy; her diagnosis is so much more limited than I sometimes realize. It has been an important lesson for me to not give Cerebral Palsy so much credit and to give myself, Oby, our families, our loving Heavenly Father and especially Chloe much more credit.


Kelly Deneen said...

What a beautiful post for a beautiful mom. :)

Amanda Ellis, MT-BC said...

I love this! It is certainly a beautiful post and I think you can only be balanced as a person/parent if you admit all the feelings you have. :) I work with students with special needs and would love to email you some songs/visuals to try out with Chloe if you are interested.
My email is morewithmusic@gmail.com
Hang in there! Your daughter is blessed to have you! :)
Amanda Ellis

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post. I think we all feel this way every now and again, but how wonderful that you could acknowledge it and move forward with gusto. I saw that word art on FB a couple of days ago and wondered where it came from:-) Perfect!

Cynthia said...

I am so glad you have found fresh inspiration to thrive even with the challenges you, Oby and Chloe face. I also don't think you should feel guilty for experiencing lowered feelings about the unfairness of it all. The key is to do, as you have done, and turn despair to triumph.

I believe we will all have different trials that change our lives in some way we hadn't planned. I didn't plan to struggle through infertility and have the disease dictate our opportunity to have a family as well as family size. There are other challenges I'm facing too I hadn't planned on that make my life a little different from the one I had planned. If we live long enough, ALL of us will have that in some ways or another.

It's so hard to watch your child struggle but she is so lucky to have a Mama who does whatever is required to bring her maximum joy. I pray your joys will be greater than the sum of the trials and you'll be blessed in ways you never saw coming either!

Shasta said...

This is really wonderful. I question a little bit the pseudo-plagarism of the cancer poster but that's not going to stop me from printing this out and posting it in my twins' room!
Thanks for forcing yourself to look at the bright side as it forces me, too!

Shasta said...

P.S. I'm a new follower!

Jenn said...

I understand. Thinking of you and sweet Chloe!

Kristina said...

Sometimes it's hard to think how overwhelming life with a special needs child is, and then to put it out there on a blog and admit it to everyone takes so much courage. I love the way you turned your frame of reference around and shared it with the world. Your honesty and openness is truly an inspiration to me.