Question: Where has this year gone? Here we are in July already! Stop and think for a moment on all that you have done in the past six months. If you are like me, you may be wondering how you are going to write your Christmas card this year; thankfully, we still have another six months to figure that out. 🙂
As I reflect, there is a list of major events on my calendar: blood clot, hospital trips, Physical therapy, paintings, a few visits to see grandparents, Spring Break vacation, books read, made new friends, turned another year older, overcoming new physical limitations, visited my sister a few times in Columbus and Megan visited from Colorado…and last but certainly not least: I wrote about my life (limit 1500 words) for this book NF2: Our Journeys.
January 2, 2o13–a representative from The Children’s Tumor Foundation contacted me through my blog in response to a letter I had sent to the foundation at the end of the previous year. Three days later, she contacted me again. The Children’s Tumor Foundation works alongside a foundation in the UK called, Children With Tumors. There was an opportunity for those with NF2 to participate in this publication (sharing their story)–all started by Jessica Cook who also lives with NF2.
January 9, 2013: Unexpected blood clot.
January 10, 2013: In hospital and I get an email from Jess. This is where it began.
I can count on both hands how many people I have known/met personally that live with either NF1 or NF2. Yes…less than ten people. It was only when I started this blog that my social group of “meeting” people who live with NF2 expanded slightly. When Jess first emailed me, it was about the book. I had no idea over the next five months I would not only get to be part of this amazing opportunity to share my journey of living with NF2, but also make a new friend in the process.
January and February were crazy months of doctor appointments, physical therapy and painting. I had until the end of February to write my story. Not that I procrastinated, but a combination of all taking place those months and just a lack of not knowing what to say, I finally forced myself to sit down a few days before the due date and write. I submitted it the day the rough drafts were due. By this time, Jess and I had been emailing back and forth and she responded to my draft with praise saying that it was what she had expected. That put my nervousness at ease.
My story was edited (spelling, grammar, punctuation) by Jess and a few of her friends and then sent back to me to read and review. I asked my cousin, who is known for her exceptional editing skills, for help on a few sentences and wordings–then satisfied–I sent it back to Jess saying it was final on my end. I picked my “author name” for the introduction and submitted a picture. (Muffy is famous! 🙂 ) By this time, I now had told my family about Jess and the book; I had mentioned it to my doctors in Cincinnati and wrote about Jess to my grandparents. Just talking about it all was exciting!
Getting to know Jess over the past six months has been both encouraging and inspiring. We never started our emails from the past (full life story)…we started right where we were at the moment. Sure, past events have come up in our conversations, such as, physical changes we have endured, emotional battles we have overcome (such as isolation and self-image struggles) and how living with NF2 has broadened our life’s story in ways unimaginable.
Jess’ work in the UK through her social advocacy website and group–Can You Hear Us?–has inspired me to be connected. I have been reading other blogs from people living with NF2 and (though good intentions) need to make a better effort to seek out the Deaf community here. It has also helped me to seek out the possibilities when life hands you disabilities; I believe God placed this book opportunity in front of me for a reason–because these past six months, I have seen my body change and weaken faster than the other nine years of living with the disease combined.
I say it often, but it is the truth: It is only by God’s strength and mercy that I can still function what I am. And He has shown me in abundance the past few months that what I currently struggle with physically is not the end–there is still more to my story waiting to be told. There is always room for hope…
My story: I seems to be a re-occurring phrase over the past few weeks. A few days ago I thought of the hymn “Blessed Assurance.” I think Fanny Crosby wrote what I feel about my story best:
Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.
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To buy a copy of the book:
(Shipping is included in the book price and PayPal converts the total for those ordering from the United States.)
For More Information:
Cook, Jessica (producer). NF2: Our Journeys: A collection of inspirational stories written by people with NF2. Lavenham Suffolk, UK: canyouhearus.co.uk, 2013.