Friday, May 21, 2010

Illness is a Gift, so sayeth Bret Michaels

The lead singer of Poison, Bret Michaels, is in the news a lot lately. First an appendectomy, then a brain hemorrhage, now a "warning stroke," and the discovery of a hole in his heart.

I was a Rock of Love fan, (his reality show on VH1,) then Celebrity Apprentice, and now I am watching him on Oprah. While my friends think it is hilarious that I have a celebrity crush on him one thing that keeps me watching is that, despite his whoring himself out to reality television, he always seems to keep a healthy dose of being grounded, along with a sense that you get he is in on the joke. He also always seems to have an amazing attitude, boundless energy, and aggressive determination. What little I know about him tells me he didn't get where he is by sitting around and letting the world pass him by.

In his interview with Oprah, he is talking about when he was in the hospital with his brain hemorrhage and how it clarified for him what is important in life. Love. Love of family and friends. Resetting one's priorities. It reminds me that last year I was in so much pain I thought I wasn't going to make it. The idea of death, up to that point, had always been an intellectual exercise. Like, "I wonder what it will feel like? I know it will happen some day, but what will it be like?" I had the experience of truly feeling in my body that I could die. That what was wrong with me was something I didn't understand and couldn't fix by myself and the light bulb went off in my brain..."oh, I could die." I felt so vulnerable in that, and yet there was also a sort of letting go.

This illness can knock me down, or, I can choose to allow it to open me up to possibilities that I never would have even imagined. I keep fighting to get back to "my life," whatever the hell that was. Clearly it was not serving me because I got so sick I couldn't walk. And I continue to be unwell, because I keep thinking in the old pattern of the "shoulds," "have tos," and "musts." This illness really will have kicked my ass if I have gone through all of this only to return to the exact same thought patterns and way of doing things I did previously. So thank you Bret Michaels for reminding me that illness is a gift!


  1. Trust me I know what you are going through. Just listen to your body when it needs rest. I can't even imagine what a day without pain would be like but all we can do is hope and do the best we can do. And who doesn't love Bret???? Are there such people in this world :)

  2. I know you understand. It is so hard to REALLY understand what someone else's pain is until you have gone through it yourself. I didn't really "get it" when I was at Westfield with what you were going through. Now I do. One's health is a blessing. And God Bless Bret!