Tag Archives: chronic disease

Our Precious Gift

When I first met her, I was struck by her beauty; I could tell she was of Native American descent, her clear beautiful blue eyes were captivating. She had a certain intensity about her like most artists do, she was the owner of a local art gallery focusing on art from New Mexico and Native Americans.  Immediately I admired her for living her dream of owning a gallery at such a young age. It has been a dream of mine to own a gallery to showcase my jewelry and crystal and mineral collection – a dream that has had to be postponed due to my upcoming PAO surgeries.

Fast forward 6 months, which was Sunday morning, I got an email from a mutual friend of ours, stating that Brianna passed away suddenly Friday morning at the young age of 29. Shock and sadness filled me.  No cause of death was mentioned, and I racked my brain as to the cause. She was healthy, so vivacious!   I had only met Brianna a handful of times, she touched my life: she showed me that is is possible to live my truth and follow my dreams.

Last night was the Celebration of Life at a local restaurant; I learned that her passing was due to heart failure, caused by pulmonary hypertension that was only diagnosed 2 weeks prior to her death. They had a table filled with photos, her artwork, her favorite costumes, copies of her poems for people to have.  I didn’t cry until I got into my car. It hit me like a thunderbolt: life is too precious to be wasting my time on worrying about my health and financial problems. I need to release and trust all will work out. I need to replace that time worrying with enjoying the little things that life has to offer.

We are all fighting our own battles with hip dysplasia or any other chronic disease.  We are warriors of the sort. Despite our battles, our precious gift is life, and it cannot be wasted on worry or regret, nor should this gift be taken for granted. I think I am going to start a gratitude journal to give thanks to what my precious gift has to offer me.

Below is a poem that Brianna wrote, the words resonate deeply:

“Purple runners creep into my heart,
slowly surrounding me
in a protective power as
roses burst into life around my soul,
keeping harm at bay.
Their pulsing life energy
flows through me
washing/cleansing away negativity,
doubt, anger, fear.
Within their encircling arms
is eternal spring & everflowing rejuvenation.
I can feel the Universe
through their roots,
linking to all that is or was or will be.
And I know that the purple light & sacred rose
will shield me always in their warm embrace.”
-Brianna Murtha, 1/12/85 – 2/21/14. RIP



I have my routine in the mornings: I love waking up around 5:30 a.m., pad to the kitchen in my soft slippers, feed the cat, make a pot of coffee, drink an “Emergen-C” and hop on my email and Facebook.  I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning and I read a post from a friend of mine whose good friend, who appears to be around my age, was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer that metastasized to the liver. This stuck a cord with me, as it is the same cancer that my dad was diagnosed with in 2004. Beyond the initial shock and sorrow , I thought about how my hip dysplasia and upcoming surgeries pale in comparison to her battle. Then my mind wandered….

And I thought, “No matter the nature of our health battles, be it cancer, hip dysplasia, or another disease, we are warriors.” To me, being a warrior is encompassing a certain mind-frame and the determination to fight and push back at the disease.  While we are prone to feelings of self-pity (we are human, after all), warriors allow the feelings to come, honor them, release them, and move on. Warriors prepare in every aspect of getting ready for battle, through scheduling doctors’ appointments, fighting with health insurance companies, asking questions, asking more questions, arranging a support group (rallying our troops), ordering necessary medical and/or health equipment, and handling logistics of all ends of the spectrum.

Warriors have a strong mind. We are determined to do anything and everything to improve our state of health. When its time for surgery, warriors step into the hospital courageous and positive. After all, the warrior and her troops (in this case, the surgical team) are prepared. Warriors are determined to do anything and everything to get back their health, from physical therapy to follow-up treatments. A warrior’s will is unwavering, so warriors have to dig deep within themselves to find strength.

When I find myself being upset about my condition, upcoming surgery and rehabilitation, I remind myself that I am a warrior. Its empowering. That reminder enables me to keep pressing on to be strong, positive and fearless.

Me as Wonder Woman, circa 1978.  My sister texted me this photo with the words "You are Wonder Woman. Don't ever forget that."
Me as Wonder Woman, circa 1978. Last month, my sister texted me this photo with the words “You are Wonder Woman. Don’t ever forget that.”