Very few people are just born with the ability to bounce back from adversity, with relentless tenacity. To laugh in the face of challenge, and scoff at the idea of giving up. Instead, choosing love so hard and play with so much joy, that the world looks at them with a certain level of envy... despite the unbelievable circumstances they wake to every day.
My sister Lisa is one of those people. She is an absolute fucking champion. She wakes each day to reality and pain most of us would crumble beneath on our best day -- and smiles, laughs, loves, and gives - more than most of us do on our best day. She's never allowed her physical condition to hold her back from having beautiful relationships, crushing her goals, and just being a general all-around bad ass.
When we were growing up, she was tiny. The juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that she was born with stunted her growth and twisted her fragile little body. I, on the other hand, was strong and tall. At 22 months younger than me, she was about half my size by the time we were in grade school. So, I carried her on my back, everywhere. To the school bus stop, at the grocery store, on field trips for school. Piggy back. It never crossed our minds that there was anything unusual about this. It was the easiest way to help her keep up with everyone, and keep her safe.
At the time, it seemed totally natural for me to physically carry her. I could, so I did. Neither of us had any idea that inside my brain, something wasn't right, and that later on, at age 17, I would start my own physical battle. And Lisa might still have no idea that in the years that have passed since my diagnosis with hydrocephalus, it is she that has carried me - not physically, but mentally and emotionally. It is she who has taught me to fight like a girl, and to never give up. I think of her when I don't feel good, when I don't want to go to work, when I don't want to lift weights. Her tenacity to survive multiple joint replacements and reconstruction surgeries reminds me that this is totally doable, even when it sucks. It is her open heart and loving soul that has taught me to enjoy all the good things in life, and that sharing your life with other people can push them along in conquering their own struggles.
Thanks for carrying me, Lis. You are my hero. My true relentless warrior.
I love you more than peanut butter loves jelly.
My name is Amy but friends and family call me Am. I am a lover of dogs, good whiskey, and strength training. I'm a brain surgery survivor (x28), a fiddle player, a construction designer, and a boxing enthusiast. I have six real siblings, and five fake brothers. I love deeply, and consider my close friends to be family.