Unbroken…one word, thousands of different languages to say it in, all with the potential to have unique individual meaning to every one of us.
In 2013, someone recommended I read the book, “Unbroken” by author Laura Hillenbrand. I’ve always enjoyed history and non-fiction books, so when I looked it up on Good-Reads and saw that it had THOUSANDS of positive reviews and an average rating of 4.77 out of 5 stars; I decided to jump on the band wagon and read it.
Unbroken tells the real-life story of Louis Zamperini, a 1936 Olympic runner and World War II war hero who experiences immense life-changing adversity and challenges with courage, fortitude and resilience.
When I started reading Unbroken, I had no idea how deeply this book would speak to me. As I read Louie’s story, I took a long hard look at my life and the challenges I have faced. I realized that just like Louie, my life experiences have been a great gift to help me succeed and learn resilience.
In 2007, I unexpectedly became pregnant with my last child. I was taking very powerful immune suppressing chemo-drugs to treat Crohn’s disease and had been advised against even attempting to conceive while on this medicine, as it would cross the placenta barrier and effect my unborn child. Upon learning I was pregnant, I immediately stopped all medication I was taking and sought medical council from my gastroenterologist.
When I am pregnant, my Crohn’s disease is especially severe and active. When my GI doctor advised me to resume the medication I had been taking because “my health out weighed the health of my unborn child,” I was completely blindsided. As I grappled with the reality that I had potentially caused permanent birth defects for my child, I finally reached my turning point.
It was at this moment that I chose to take charge of my health and do all I could in my power to have a choice and say in my future. I had been living with Crohn’s disease for over 11 years and had a terrible quality of life; despite doing everything my doctors had asked me to do. When I thought of my future, and looked at my four small children, I wasn’t sure I’d live long enough to watch them grow up. I was tired of the pain, struggle, uncertainty and being sick all the time. I knew there had to be a better way to live my life. I wanted peace, happiness and health.
That’s when I decided to choose resilience, and start taking care of myself in a way that was different from anything my doctors had recommended before. This turning point began the start of a journey that has helped shape me into who I am today. I am sharing my story in hopes that others can see that they too can chose to be resilient.
While we cannot always choose what happens to us in life, we have a choice in how we respond to situations we’ve been given. I have learned there is hope because we have the power to choose.