Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mental & Spiritual Rejuvenation

At the beginning of the year, my company announced that they would be giving us two new personal holidays each year. These personal holidays were to be used for "Mental & Spiritual Rejuvenation". It seemed appropriate to use one of them to go to Tampa this past weekend to meet up with my liver moms.

I knew that Lisa, Laurie, and I would get along. We chat online frequently - 2 - 3 times a week (heck, sometimes twice a day). We both have young little boys who have a transplant, we've been medical mommies for awhile now. So, I really wasn't worried about flying over a thousand miles away to spend the weekend with total strangers.

What I didn't expect from this weekend, was the absolute connection I felt with these women. We didn't have to explain to each other what it's like to be told that you child will need a liver transplant, what choliangitis is, what it feels like to have to take your child in to have labs drawn, or to see machines breathing for your child. They knew... They had been there... They completely understood...

We could sit and talk about bilirubin values, Prograf, and long term side effects of our child's meds without getting that glassy eyed look that often accompanies our other friends and acquaintances. We could discuss the strain that all of this puts on your relationships with family, friends, and your spouse - without the other person thinking you were psychotic or on the verge of divorce. We all know what it's like to lose a friend that can't deal with you because "it's too depressing to be in your life". We were able to share the pain of losing one of "our" liver kids - and cry together.

Now, please don't misread this. We have wonderful family, friends, and neighbors who have been extremely supportive of us through our entire process. But, this was the first time that I've spent time locked away with parents of other biliary atresia babies.

The weekend was so relaxing...a spiritual rejuvenation to say the least. A time when we could let go, remember, relax, and let our guard down. It was an incredible experience to be there - so uplifting. And, as my plane was taking off, it took me awhile to figure out why I had tears rolling down my cheeks. And, then I realized, this was something that I had needed for so long.

So to my friends, Lisa and Laurie, thank you.

6 comments:

Laurie said...

Stacy,

That was the best beach vacation I've ever had. You're right...it was just so easy to fall into conversation and not have to explain what things meant, or think we might be judged for how we handled certain situations.

I loved meeting you and Lisa, and I hope we can get together often!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

There is something wonderful about friends that have gone through the same experiences as you, especially the tough ones.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stacy!

I couldn't find your guest book so I thought I would leave my note here.

I've been reading your blog for a while and just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Gala, mom to twins born at 28 weeks on July, 2004. We live near Plaza.
I thought dealing with prematurity is a lot of stress and worries and sometimes hard to handle but it's very far from what you've been gone through. I think what you have accomplished and continue to do for Tanner and Morgan is amazing. I think they are very lucky to have you as a mother!!

Amanda Tadlock said...

Stacy, I am so glad to hear you were able to get away, and as a plus, enrich the friendship with these "earth angels" that you have. Take Care, I think of you often!!

Amanda

Amanda M said...

Sounds like a great vacation! Makes a difference being around people who truly get it, doesn't it?!! Cool beans. At one point I dragged my very reluctant sister-in-law to meet with another BA mom near us....Katie, the other families' dad and kids, and I went off and played because the two moms connected so deeply...it was just such a relief to them to talk to someone who dealt with the same issues, with the same doctors even.

Amy said...

I'm so glad you were able to get away and have a weekend to relax. I went away with my two best friends since high school in May and I described it as "soul-cleansing".

I hope you are able to do this again sometime--I think we all forget how important it is to nurture ourselves while we are so busy taking care of our families.