After being told I had 2-5 years to live from a no cause, no cure lung disease (Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension aka IPAH) resulting in me becoming legally blind and on 24 hour oxygen. There were only drugs to help slow its progression. I knew I had to call on my skills as a social work therapist, to help myself.
What was most important to me? To continue being a mother to my three kids and be a partner to my husband of 23 years.
I remembered all the past actions I had taken to overcome hard challenges. Then I transferred some of those actions into my current situation.
I then acknowledged the difficult thoughts and feelings that bubbled up throughout the day and night. At times, I did choose to escape this pain through doing avoidance behaviours like numbing out on Netflix, eating no salt potato chips or refusing to go out and instead stay-at-home isolated.
However, I invited my ‘wise mind’ to help me to consider what I valued most and who I wanted to become. This lead me to search resources to help myself get as well as possible. I sought out and spoke with world leading doctors in lifestyle medicine and received formal education about a whole plant-based lifestyle before adopting it.
This committed action lead to the reversal of both my rare disease and type 2 insulin-dependent diabetes as well as restoring my eyesight. I learned that words and wishes don’t work as well as taking action. While difficult thoughts, feelings, sensations and memories can and do pop up frequently, they are only background music and are not in control of me.
By learning to choose actions that match my values - I am moving toward being my best self.
I invite you to live the story you want to tell!
Kate McGoey-Smith is absolutely one of the most amazing people I have ever met... turning tragedy into blessings and terminology such as: "suffering as collateral beauty"