Recently, I decided to allow myself to follow my heart and desire of spending quality time with my kids, instead of listening to fears about any possible consequences of my actions. I was limited, excited, nervous and even concerned prior to the trip, but really wanted this experience with my kids. (Last year, I had to remain at home due to my health and promised my kids that I would do everything possible in order to participate this year.)
Even though I would only be able be at the park for a short amount of time, I knew that I had to rent a scooter. I dreaded renting a scooter, but it was expected by my family, required for me to physically be able to join them, and actually essential in order to actually enjoy the environment. I am so glad that I bit my pride and prioritized living in the moment over avoiding possible judgement from strangers. Even with the scooter and the minimal time in attendance, I was still worn out physically. This was likely due to the ride there & standing in line for 30 min waiting for the park to open. (Thankfully, it was a cool evening and the park wasn't open during the day while they prepared for the fun Halloween festivities. We had get there early to be sure that a scooter would be available.) My family made it welcoming by not being ashamed or resentful of my limitations and clearly vocalized that they didn't care and it didn't matter what anyone else thought.
The kids made the choice not to ride any rides, since I was with them, but instead decided to just experience the Halloween festivities. Cruising around the the park alongside them with monsters, ghouls, and eerie green fog was definitely entertaining! My kids' eagerness and excitement was contagious, so with their encouragement, I elected to enter 2 or 3 of the Halloween mazes. Due to fatigue, I remained on the scooter while they went through the other Halloween attractions. When waiting, I watched the other amusement park guests being scared by the zombies and monsters walking throughout the park, and talked with my husband. Due to my strength, we only stayed at the park for about 2 hours, but I haven’t laughed so hard in years.
Returning to the car was extremely hard and taxing on me, even though we were parked close to the gate. Pain, stiffness, & fatigue made it challenging to get comfortable when returning to the camping cabin (Thankfully, I prepared by bring my heating pad!) Saturday, was an easy calm day at the cabin - too sore and fatigued to move around - but filled with such delight to be away from my house and relaxing with my family. They stayed at the cabin with me for most of the day watching football, cooking out, coloring, talking, etc before they returned back to the park to enjoy another night of spooky fun. I did not return the second night, but that was absolutely fine with me.
Overcoming my fear, achieving my goal, pursuing my interest, and living in the moment, was exhilarating. I could have easily focused on what I couldn’t do, how fast by body fatigued, what I missed, etc —- but this time my spirit chose to focus on the love and heart’s desire for quality of life. The smiling, laughing, joy, happiness, connection with family, and even sore muscles (including cheeks from all of the smiles and laughter), made the experience everything I needed, wanted, and more! Witnessing their joy while feeling my heart beam - nothing else mattered.
Did I still get sick on my trip? Yes
Was pain obsolete? Not at all. It was still very present.
Was sleep or lack of still an issue? Yes.
Nausea? Yes, though I minimized it as much as possible by limiting intake a couple days prior to the trip and while away.
Was the trip easy on my body? Absolutely not, it took days to rebound to my "normal" fatigue levels. But emotionally, it was more than worthwhile.
Most importantly, I experienced a glimpse of life’s beauty, quality family time, happiness, & more of God’s blessings. I am so blessed and thankful for the encouragement from God, my family, & my doctor to help make this opportunity possible in my heart & mind. Hopefully, we will be able to repeat this vacation next October. In the meantime, I can guarantee that it will remain a cherished and treasured memory forever.
Quotes from After the Diagnosis by Julian Seifter:
"Travel, movement, and risks are ways to stay alive, to flex muscles, to feel more whole."
"Testing the extremes may have been a way of locating the right balance."