Just a "zebra" trying my best to live life to the fullest with EDS and POTS...and loving the ride.


Written by Katie. Posted in Favorites, Memorable Experiences

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Two years ago Allie almost died on Christmas night and my Dad had Prostate cancer. You can read Allie’s story here.  Christmas has meant so much more to me ever since.  It probably sounds cliche’ but between Christmas two years ago and this Christmas I finally get it. Like really, really get it. Christmas means Family.  Friends.  Forgiveness. Giving.  Love. Hope. Faith.
I have always had this thing where I like to think in years.  For example, my family used to go to Lake Leelanau every summer, and I always remember thinking each year as I layed out on the dock, baking in the sun, where I ,and my family would be the next year we were at Lake Leelanau.  This year, as I sat in church on Christmas Eve, I found myself doing the same thing.  I could not help but think that last year at Christmas I was working and running. And I wondered where I would be by next Christmas.  So much has changed for me in the past year, and I know that it is inevitable that so much more will continue to change in the upcoming year.  As we waited for mass to begin, my mind drifted to the possibilities…Would I be back to work?  Would surgery be in the works?  Would we be in the midst of the adoption process?  Would I be able to walk around the block again?
If you asked me in years past what my favorite gift from Christmas was, I would have rattled off my new Ipod, my new boots, a new watch, or the expensive sweater I didn’t want to buy for myself that I waited for Santa to bring.
This year a friend of mine asked me what the best part of Christmas was for me this year.  Without hesitating, I immediately said, it was the fact that Brad and I got to spend Christmas Eve mass at St. John’s Evangelist in Jackson with Father Jim (who married us and who was the priest from my childhood that knew my family so, so well), as the Christmas Eve officiating priest.  I explained that my most special gift of Christmas was that I was able to walk up to get communion, something I have not dared to do since I’ve had POTS, for the fear of passing out in front of the whole congregation.
When I saw that Father Jim was officiating, I lost it.  I mean, really, really lost it as in Brad making me use his beloved Adidas glove to wipe my constant stream of crocodile tears.  I’m still not sure why I became so overcome with emotion as I laid my eyes on Father Jim.  I have talked before about symbols of hope for me, and I think Father Jim is a symbol of hope and comfort for me.  As Lisa would say, he may just be one of my angels with skin.
There were other things that made Christmas so special for me this year.  Cecilia’s first Christmas.   Spending Christmas Eve with all of the Jaskolski’s and experiencing my first ever Polish feast.  Watching all of my nieces experience the magic of Christmas.  Being with my whole family, laughing, and loving each other up Christmas morning.  A card I opened from my sister-in-law on Christmas Eve filled with words of love and hope.  The necklace I was given by my sister that she had made for me that says, “health, faith, courage” with footprints charms (from the footprints poem). Being with the Herners on Christmas Eve night and watching Katy Rose so enthralled by changing her new doll’s diaper.  The santa bag that was in our door when we got home Christmas Eve night, full of inspirational gifts from a former student and his family.  An Angel pin I opened Christmas morning.  The Christmas Brad and I had together, just the two of us.
I have always resisted change.  Change was never my friend.  When my Mom painted my bedroom after I moved out and got married I was mad about it for days.  But there has been a lot of change from Christmas 2008, to 2009, to 2010.  It has been presented to me time and time again this year that change in life is inevitable.  I have changed a lot this year.  And I’m beginning to think, it’s not so bad.  What will Christmas 2011 bring?  I am so hopeful.

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