Posted in coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity

Following the Health and Healing Trail of Gabrielle Giffords

This weekend the news was of the new pictures of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  There were two photos released; one of her alone and the other with her mother who has been by her side every day at the rehabilitation hospital.  Why was this so newsworthy?  It shows that hard work pays off.  It shows what can be accomplished with a great team of doctors.  It emphasizes the importance of strong family support following the diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness or injury.

Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head at point-blank range back in December.  It’s truly a miracle that she survived the shooting, but somehow with advances in treating brain injuries she lived.  The road to recovery is still progressing.  News reports state that she may be leaving the inpatient rehab program by the end of the month and will be an outpatient for many months to come.  The reports from the doctors, her family (her husband is an astronaut who just returned from commanding the space shuttle), and her staff is that she’s making daily progress, but still has a way to go.

The odds are that if you’re reading this you weren’t shot in the head at close range.  However, the diagnosis may have felt like you were shot in the heart.  It may have shocked your soul to its core because you believed, as we all do, that we’ll lead long healthy lives.  One of the questions is, “Can your heart go to rehab?”(not cardiac rehab, soul rehab) to recapture the faith in your own body?  How will you measure your progress?  What does recovery or wellness look like to you?

I guess the real point I want to make is that health and healing is work.  It’s multi-dimensional including body, mind, and spirit.  Just like an athlete who trains for a competition, you’ll need to do more than simply take your medication because healing needs to take place on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels of your life.  Think about what body, mind, and spirit rehab looks like to you?

Remember, Congresswoman Giffords is not only a role model for healing, but a goal model.  Her ongoing journey is an inspiration and I wish her well!

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