Saturday, May 25, 2013


It is in choosing to rise that we shine - Ingrid Poulson

Recently I read "Rise" by Ingrid Poulson. In this book, she shares the shocking story of what happened to her family after domestic violence, and how she overcame this heartache to rise, to go on. After the initial harrowing chapter of what happened, the book outlines the concept of resilience, how one can (and should) develop it.

As I was reading through the book, I realised that I didn't need to use the strategies in the book. I am already doing them. I have found resilience in my life.

This didn't really come as a big surprise to me. Many people have commented to me on how "strong" I seem. I'm not sure about that, but I do know that no matter how bad the day is, tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully filled with sunshine and unicorns that poop rainbows, but I won't know that till it comes. I'm not saying that every day is all happy smiles. Of course I have bad days when I get a bit down. I try to allow myself those bad days (sometimes only hours) because I know that something will happen to make things just a tiny bit better. One of the kids will make me laugh, or I realise the nausea has eased, or a friend puts a smile on my face.

As Ingrid outlines in her book, resilience isn't about "being strong" every day. It is about acknowledging those bad days, living through that moment, then moving on. 

I also don't have the sense that "it isn't fair". I won't say that I've always been like this. While we were going through IVF for Charlotte I had that awful feeling that I deserved all this pain and heartache. That I was a bad person and had done something wrong in life. Once we were trying again for Angus that sense had gone away, although I was still feeling that "it isn't fair" while pregnant (and sick) with Angus.

But then blobby came along. And you know what, it isn't fair. It isn't fair that I am diagnosed with a brain tumour while my precious children are still babies. It isn't fair that we have to spend so much money on cancer treatment. It isn't fair that I am too unwell to even take care of them. But life, in general, isn't fair. Once you start to accept that, it makes it easier to just get on with it. If I spend every day worrying about why this happened, what did I do to deserve it, then I take away energy to spend with my family. 

Because I haven't done anything wrong. I'm inherently a good person. Of course we all do some not nice things and have a few faults (really, who hasn't), but none of those mean that you will be struck down by illness or tragedy. I've also done some great things in life, and those don't get rewarded with things like winning the lottery either (sad to say).

Blobby has allowed me to recognise that I have great internal strength. I have developed coping strategies and skills that have allowed me to continue on every day, not matter what is being thrown at us. Sometimes this means we ask for help, sometimes it means I have a nap, or go for a walk, or watch some trashy telly. I like to make lists about things that need to be done (either mentally or on paper) and when I get a bit too procrastinatory, simply saying aloud what I need to do is enough to kickstart me into gear.  We all have our own way of coping though and there isn't any right or wrong way.

I see one of the greatest gifts that blobby has given us is this resolution and fortitude to just keep taking it one day at a time. But also that this is something we can pass on to our children. I hope that they will grow up to be resilient adults, able to handle anything this world may ask of them.

The above quote from the book affected me profoundly - "In choosing to rise, we shine". I make my own choices about how I handle blobby. I choose to go to the gym for my recovery, I choose to try and eat well, I choose to take my medications and do what is asked of me by my doctors. I also choose to not sit in a corner and lament the hand we've been dealt. I choose to rise.

(Rise, Ingrid Poulson (1998); Pan MacMillan books is a wonderful read for anyone who needs help finding their internal strength. I highly recommend it)


  1. Beautiful Janet! Brought a tear to my eye! :)

  2. Wow - what an amazing story, and an equally amazing outlook on life. Wishing you lots of health and happiness for you and your family