So really, who is the strongest person you know? and I don’t just mean in terms of being able to pick up heavy stuff. I mean strong in personality and just traits that can make them able to do anything that needs to be done. Being able to lift heavy things is just a bonus.
For me, the strongest person I know is…well lets start with some back story. I used to think my Dad was just about it. He could lift the aforementioned heavy things, he could handle anything that came up. He could influence his world just by being around. Everyone respected him because of who he was with not a small measure of fear attached to it.
My Dad is still a strong person. He Still gets what he wants and can influence his world. But he is no longer the strongest person I know. That honor now resides with a 4 year old girl, my daughter Amelia. Now, she can’t lift heavy things yet, but she is getting there. She can swing a 10 lb kettlebell pretty darn good. Her strength is a bit different.
Amelia is my daughter who had the kidney transplant. I know I have written on this before ad nauseum so stop now if you wish. However, for those who do not know or only know part of the story, at 11 months old Amelia had a seizure. We took her to the hospital and they started the neurological tests for seizures and such, until they got back the results of her blood tests. The seizure was caused by extremely low calcium and the rest of her electrolytes were so off that they did the tests again.
Those came back and they said Kidney Failure. The doctor told us that night that she would need prolonged dialysis and eventually a transplant. Now, a shortened chain of events, she had several surgeries to place catheters for dialysis, her kidneys completely shut down and were removed and before we knew it, we had way too much knowledge of Primary Children’s Hospital. 16 weeks worth of knowledge.
So during that time she was on dialysis and then we got to do dialysis at home but it never really worked right. September of ’07 until May of ’09 she was on 4 times per week hemodialysis at the University of Utah Pediatric Dialysis center. During all of that time, she didn’t complain. This was a girl who turned 1 in the hospital and got her kidneys removed, and then turned 3 in the hospital with a new transplanted kidney.
We had 2 full years of her weight changes, restricted diet and dialysis. Through it all, she made it ok for all of us. There were times when it was very scary but she pulled through. And not only did she do it with a smile, but she constantly made others feel better. The dialysis staff used her example to other kids who were fussy about getting hooked up to the dialysis machine.
She could always handle things that came up. After her transplant she was getting 3-5 blood tests per week and she sat there and took them. She then went to once a week and now once a month, and she doesn’t like it much but she goes and gets here tests. She takes her medicine every night and every morning without complaint. She influences her world. She brings happiness.
The charitable organization that we are a part of, HopeKids, is dedicated to helping families of terminally ill kids have somewhat of a normal life. They get to go to movies and activities just like normal kids do, without people looking at their lack of hair or tubes or wheelchairs. These are all great kids and deserve to be normal, in a place where people understand feeding tubes and catheters and immunocompromised kids.
It is sometimes odd to go to some of these HopeKids activities now that Amelia is “healthy”. She will always have her disease (Diffuse Mesangial Sclerosis without Drash), the transplant will fail at some distant point in the future but for now, she runs and plays just like any other 4 year old. And HopeKids likes us to come to the events so that they can point out Amelia as the girl who had a transplant and look how good she is doing now. If Amelia can bring hope to someones life when they are just starting or are in the middle of all of that dialysis then she loves to.
She will show her transplant scars to any of those kids when they get to comparing. She loves people and loves to help. She has been through things that would have tried the most patient person and emerged well on the other side. She is not afraid to go out and help others understand what she went through. She is the strongest person I know.
So again I ask: who is the strongest person you know? Why are they so strong to you? Please share with the rest of us in the comments or on the social networks! I would live to hear from you!