Thursday, August 11, 2011

Only An Ocean Away

     When I checked my e-mail earlier, I was kind of surprised to find a new one waiting for me. Don't get me wrong, I get spam and e-mails from family members and e-bills just like the next guy, so it wasn't the fact that I had a new message waiting for me that got me all excited; it was the specific e-mail account in which I found the message that caused such a reaction. I, like almost everyone else, have multiple e-mail accounts. The one I use for this blog, however, is one that I use only for this and nothing else, so when I see a message sitting in that in-box, my heart always picks up a little bit.

     Several months ago, when this blog was merely an idea that I was kicking around with my husband, I weighed carefully the pros and cons of putting myself out there in such a manner. As my beloved was quick to point out, the intarwebz can be a nasty, soul-crushing black hole of a geek-run kingdom that has destroyed many a tougher soul than I. While I agree with this astute observation, it wasn't enough of a deterrent to make me not do this. I really felt then and feel even more strongly now that I need to share my experiences as the wife of a man with Marfan's Syndrome because someone somewhere has to feel the same way I do, or at least feel something similar.

     Right, so what's that little tangent have anything to do with the magically exciting e-mail that I got? The e-mail was from a woman on the other side of the world who is in a situation very similar to mine - the partner of a man born with Marfan's Syndrome. Obviously, to disclose any details other than that would be a breach of privacy and I would never intentionally betray someone's trust in such a manner. Suffice it to say, reading her words about her experiences reminded me of how much I'm not alone in this. Admittedly, it can be really easy to get caught up in the pity-party of "Oh, poor me! No one could possibly understand what it's like to be in my shoes! Poor, poor pitiful ME!"

     I generally detest that line of thinking, though, so I try to avoid it whenever possible and I think I do a pretty damn good job of it. At the same time, though, my reluctance to venture anywhere near Pityville has landed me more than once in a place that can be just as bad - I'm-the-strongest-person-in-the-world-and-I'm-fine-ville. It's a tricky line to walk, but finding lovely, lovely people like the woman who reached out to me make it easier, immeasurably so. I'm afraid that makes it sound like I don't appreciate the people in my life who empathize with me, but maybe can't sympathize. That's not at all the case, though, I assure you. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am for all the support that my husband I have on a daily basis with our family, friends and co-workers. Hearing from people like me is just...different.

     One of my weaknesses is getting too wrapped up in my own head and that can lead to a very isolationist pattern of thinking. It's self-absorbed and a little pompous, because no one in this wide world ever has a truly unique issue, but it happens to the best of us. Touching base with others like yourself is the best, and sometimes only, way to bring it back a step. It forces me to look around from time to time and really realize where I am. So thank you, girl from the other side of the world, for making me pause for a moment and pay attention to the fact that I'm not the only one who's dealing with this and never will be.

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