Monday, May 25, 2009


To Jeanne-For opening my eyes to what I need to do next, Thank you.

I just realized, as in the last few days, that I had not reached a point of acceptance yet regarding my injury, illness and chronic pain. I was mentally fighting it every step of the way, because to me acceptance made it real. So real that I did not want to see the reality of just how much my life has changed.

I was looking at pictures of myself before it all happened, when I was strong, healthy and able to take on the world. I was thinking about how I would work out in the gym 5 or 6 days a week, go to school, hold down 2 jobs and take care of my children, the house etc. I just realized that instead of praying for a miracle and asking for my "old" life back, I should have been asking for strength and acceptance. This inability to look at my life realistically left me frozen in place, a stalemate between me and reality. No wonder I could not move forward. I was stuck in the past. Literal inertia!

All human unhappiness comes from not facing reality squarely, exactly as it is. ~Buddha

I have one person to thank for this new realization, a lovely woman named Jeanne who has suffered with chronic illness for 27 years. I came upon her via Twitter and not only is she fantastically supportive but she wrote several statements that have been ringing through my head ever since she sent them, three in particular 1)Everything happens for a reason, 2)Your years as a nurse were NOT wasted. No one can take that life experience away from you no matter what! I know it's hard! 3)Takes time to adapt to situation, grieve the losses, find the new purpose. But you can do it! I can already tell that. You are stronger than you probably think.

1) I too believe that everything happens for a reason, I was just so stuck that I could not open myself up to it.

2) I was feeling as though my years of nursing and related education were a waste, if I was no longer able to practise nursing. I now see that it was a spectacular learning experience. I learned so much from my fellow human beings about suffering, particularly in the face of adversity. I saw grace at the most of devastating diagnosis'. I learned how to be compassionate and sympathetic. Which are clearly wonderful attributes to have!

3) I refused to grieve for my lost life, career and future. I now see that I will never find my new purpose until I go through that phase of grief, albeit painful it is a necessary evil in order to move on. Yes, Jeanne, you are right, I am stronger than I think. I have experienced some pretty dreadful things in my life and I got through them. The suicide of my 1st husband and business bankruptcy leading to homelessness and hunger just to name a few. I survived it, it was tough but I did. I know I will survive this too.

May everyone reach this sense of acceptance,


k.w.m said...

That circle is the same for any illness or injury, as those that have become ill, face the same challenges as any other ill or injured person , beautifully said Jeannette

uku said...


Jeanne said...


Wow! Your post just made me cry. As in, it's hard to see the screen as I type...

I love that Buddha quote you listed. What a great quote. My acupuncturist is Buddhist and he is one of the most grounded people I have ever met. Just being in his presence is calming.

Your kind words have really touched my heart.

It's funny because after reading your blog and talking with you on twitter, I really had a feeling that part of why you were suffering so much was that you felt your nursing years were a "waste". So I'm glad I wasn't off base with my comments in that vein.

The grieving process is normal.

When I started a local endometriosis support group in 2001, I took a class on facilitating self-help groups. They had talked about Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' work.

While her work was in death and dying, much of what she talked about could help with grieving associated with other losses. It was really helpful for me to learn about her teachings.

The chart you included looked very similar to what I remember learning in that class.

I am so, so sorry about your 1st husband's suicide and the bankruptcy, homelessness, and hunger that you've been through. I can't imagine...

Without having known about any of those things, it was obvious to me that you are a very strong person. Clearly that is true!!

Having gone through a bankruptcy due to medical bills, I can relate to that part specifically and I know what hell that is to go through.

We have also come close to losing our house three times (thanks to my medical bills and inability to go back to my old career).

I cannot imagine the other things you went through.

You will not only survive but you will find your path and you will thrive.


Carolanne P said...

I hear Jan Arden. I see your face and read everything that you have written from your heart. Words escape me for i can not truly walk in your shoes any more my dear friend. Tears flow as a kleenex is clasped tightly in my fingers and pressed against my lips. many years we walked side by side Jeannette and remember what we said: WE WANTED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD. The laughter we shared in lecture halls and a big pot of coffee on the counter as we tried to study all this information just to keep our grades high. The impressiion you left everyone at the hospital, both patients and staff, carries on. Here you are and look at what you are achieving on blog, still reaching out. Still touching lives and hearts of thousands. Your pain and suffering is shadowing the legacy that you are leaving this very minute. This is your purpose. This is still what we have strived for: to make a difference; and you have! has not turned out the way we planned...But what you and I both started years ago my friend has never been lost.You are still helping people as they are with you. What you have accomplished is amazing. You are as beautiful a soul as ever and my heart swells with love and pride as I look upon all that you have accomplished already. We are forever friends and a kindred souls.

We all collectively make a huge difference with each small attempt to heal. Take Care.

Jeanne said...


It sounds like from what Carolanne P said that you truly are on your path. It sounds like you have a wonderful, supportive friend in her as well! Jeannette, you are accomplishing great things right now!


lost butterfly said...

Oh boy here I am in tears again, for the sweet words from my dearest friend, Carolanne. Thank you Carolanne for reminding me of those important deatails that have evaded me lately. In all my life, I never dreamed that God would send me such a kind-hearted friend. I miss you so much and wish I lived closer and could see you more often. We have been through a lot together, but most of all our connection became concrete in my mind forever more when you stood by holding my hand all through the tough days after Paul's suicide. No one was able to comfort me the way that you did. When the business went under, you were the one there again, bringing food, necessities, rides to the grocery store and most of all love and acceptance. Everyone should be as lucky in their lives to have a friend like you. I often remember our going to see Jann Arden live shortly after Paul's death and you sitting there supportive as always as her singing brought me to tears that shook my shoulders. So many memories, but whether they were good times or bad, you have always been there, rock steady and for that I will always be grateful. As long as I live I don't think I could ever fully explain what your love and support has meant to me over the years. I love you from the bottom of my heart my sweet friend.
Jeannette X0

Shauna said...

Dear Jeannette,

We, my dear, not only have Jeanne as a mutual friend, but we have some other things in common that are making me cry right now.

I am a nurse also. WE will ALWAYS be nurses!! In our hearts, our souls, in that deep space that had us walking in our first day in nursing school, and that special place that only other nurses can understand what made us become nurses and all the training we have gone through.

I have been a nurse for 19 years. And I had to just make that oh-so-horrible-decision just a couple months ago to leave for good. I was not injured on the job, but have had Chronic Pain for decades. I finally stopped fighting what I knew was a losing battle for me. Falling asleep at the computer when looking for a job 24/7. Finally decided that the applications I was filling out were no longer a truth when I checked 'yes' I can do this and this and this...all the things that us nursies are expected to do. 'They' want us healthy and ready to jump up at any time...I used to be that person, also.

When I made the final decision to leave; (and especially leaving my specialty of Hospice nursing), I was in my Pain Management doctors office. He had seen me try for over 9 months look for a job that would accommodate me. It was there, in his office, that I made the decision, and I walked in crying, cried harder as we spoke about it, as he pointed out that if my right arm became paralyzed from one day to the next--as it was that day, and as it has done 3 times now in two years--that I would certainly not be able to work as a nurse with my dominant hand paralyzed, I couldn't even CHART! (Forget those IV's!!)

I cried and my PM doc told me that after the initial shock of the realization had worn off, that I would feel an 'acceptance' about my 'new life'; and once I felt that, it would be like a thousand pounds lifted off me. I cried on the way home. I cried for 5 days. No more nursing? No more helping my favorite patients (who are ALL of them), leave this life in peace and dignity? Although I, too, had been given the run-around by my last job, they sure shape up when a lawyer shows up eh??

Then, it did set in. The acceptance. I understand what my doctor meant now. Aside from problems with Disability taking so much time to decide, and all the other 'big honchos' that help basically decide what turn our life will take, I understand your post so well.

Your years of nursing will never be forgotten by those patients whose lives you touched....and I agree with Jeanne that when I glanced first at your page as it loaded, that chart reminded me, also, of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' stages of grief. Being a Hospice nurse for so long, those stages are ground into my head, and one of them is Acceptance.

WE must learn to accept our change of life. Again, we will NEVER stop being nurses. My belief has been: once a nurse, always a nurse, when I met a retired nurse, etc. But I never thought that I'd be saying at this age, that I am a 'retired nurse'. It is still hard for me to write down in words, or say.

There is so much going on in my life right now that is not on my blog, that sound like things that you have gone through. I have yet to even tell a few friends of mine. I am still getting used to this new life, but much of mine right now hangs in limbo.

I will pray for you, and lift you up, all sisters/brothers in pain or illness, I want to be there and support them, know enough about each other to let 'us' know when there is a fall coming....and help to be there to pick you up.

Feel free to stop by and see my blog. Lots of info on chronic pain, and I use my nursing to help others through my blog. You can too. I can tell you care, a LOT.

With Gentle Hugs,

Shauna said...

Thank you for your wonderful email. I'll be offline for a couple days and then on again to see you!!

Gentle Hugs to my new best friend in being 'ex-nurses' and still knowing we are able to give our knowledge through blogging!!!

Kalea Morgan's Mom said...

Awesome writing. I was led here from Spectrummother's blog. I have fibro/cfs for 10 years and I have fought and fought. But what you say here is just so the truth. Thank you for sharing.

Melissa Ralston said...

Dear Jeannette,

Too often in this current society of ours it is not acceptable to grieve our "losses" when it doesn't include a loss due to death. It should be just as acceptable to grieve over the death of our dreams, but we are discounted as though our dreams were not of value to ourselves. However, without our dreams, what motivation do we have to get up and face the day?

During my social work internships in children's mental and developmental health, I have helped parents through the acceptance cycle. It's something that I strongly believe each and every one of us must go through if we are to "live successfully". How can we truly live if we're at constant war with our own bodies and emotions? We have a right to feel the way we do, just as we have the right to have our dreams.

When we accept our limitations, only then can we move forward to find new ways of being with the world, to form new hopes and dreams for the future. Accepting our limitations allows us to cope better with life in general and thus opens up a whole new field of energy to devote to our healing needs.

Thank you for writing this!
Take care,

Jeannette said...

Just wanted to say thank you once again for everyone that has taken the time to post comments. I truly appreciate it very much and hope that you will all come back often as I continue on this difficult journey.