"Control"

Have you ever worried and stressed about something and then suddenly - Bam! An answer or a realization comes to you?


I call it being “God-smacked”.

Let me explain a time when it happened to me.


Many times you will hear me use the word “we”, when talking about my son’s three diseases. You see, over the last three years, I have realized that all of my family has been affected by these diseases. It is not just my son with the diagnosis. It is all of us: my husband, my other sons, our extended family, even our closest friends. Everyone we know has been affected by this change in our life, simply because our life has changed.


This is a hard realization. He has changed. We have changed. Our life is different.

Some days I handle this newfound awareness with grace, and other days…well, not so much.


During one of my “not so much” days, I laid on the couch and, bored with tv, decided to listen a podcast. I love podcasts. There’s something soothing about resting my eyes, while my ears and brain enjoy a story. And I love listening to Brené Brown; her interviews are always entertaining. Her podcast with Dax Shepard and Tim Ferriss caught my attention.


The podcast covered a range of topics, and I enjoyed being entertained by their stories and perspective on life. Towards the end of their conversation, they talked about a therapy tool, known as “Three C’s to Addiction Recovery”, that can help people whose loved ones are going through addiction recovery. The Three C’s: I didn’t cause their addiction. I can’t cure their addiction. I can’t control my loved ones actions.


Huh. That’s interesting.


I didn’t Cause it. I can’t Cure it. I can’t Control it.


Even hours after listening to that podcast, I couldn’t stop thinking about these phrases: I didn’t Cause it. I can’t Cure it. I can’t Control it.


I didn’t Cause my son to get sick.


He was hospitalized because he had the Influenza A virus and a secondary virus. He had the flu vaccine, but 2017-2018 flu season was particularly bad. In Florida, five kids died. We did nothing “wrong”. In fact, he was lucky. His body was shutting down when the doctors saved his life. Catching two viruses changed his life forever; our life forever. I hate this but I have accepted this.

I can’t Cure his three diseases.


The quarterly blood draws, the doctors appointments, the medical devices he wears, the tweaks and changes to his medications all help him - but they don’t cure him. Nothing will cure him. Every day he has to make the conscious decision to live. Every day. The good days. And the bad days. Every day he chooses to take the medicines that keep his body alive. This is not an easy one to grasp. I’m working on accepting this.


I can’t Control his diseases.

I can’t control the three diseases. I see the toll they have taken on his life, physically, emotionally and mentally. I can’t control what it does to him. I can’t control what it has cost him. I can’t control what it has done to our family, our way of life. I can’t control it. I do not like this. Not. At. All.


Suddenly, I’m unnerved by this realization. These phrases that are supposed be a supportive therapy tool have left me shaken. The days go by and, still, those phrases are rattling around in my brain.


I take deep breaths…I pray…but these phrases are eating at me.


Weeks go by. The Three C’s keep popping up in my brain. I do not like this.


And then one day, out of the blue, it just hits me - Bam!


Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.


I was God-smacked!


A simple phrase from a simple prayer I had forgotten, pops into my head. It’s like God reached down from the Heavens, lightly smacked me on the back of the head, and whispered in my brain, “Stop all of this stressing. At least you know, what you don’t know. You know what you can't control. Embrace that knowledge and move forward.”


Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.


Suddenly, a sense of calm washes over me. There is a type of power that comes with knowing what you can’t control, and an even bigger power in knowing what you can’t control AND accepting it.


Whoa. I found my breath.


I know what I can’t control about these diseases. Accepting it? I’m going to have to work on that part, but for now, I’m feeling a bit stronger.


I didn’t cause it. I can’t cure it. I can’t control it.

No, I can’t control these diseases. No, I can’t control how he feels about the diseases and their management. No, I can't control how his life will be different from his peers. No, I can’t control how these diseases affect his body and his mind, now or in the future.

But I can control my mindset about the changes in our life.


I can support him when he chooses to take a semester off. I can offer a quiet home where he can rest on the days when his body is so tired of fighting. I can listen when he talks about the struggles of managing all of this, all the time. I can tell family and friends when he needs a break. I can do whatever he needs, whenever he needs it. I can support him, and love him unconditionally.


And I can laugh and smile and enjoy every second when he has a good day, whether he’s playing basketball with friends, or telling a funny story, or just watching tv.


Our son is different. We are different. Our life is different.


Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.


And for now, knowing what I cannot control has given me some strength, and a bit of peace.