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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Our identities

A pair of happy dogs explored together in the sunshine. The combination of white snow flying through the air and the golden grass made a gorgeous scene.
Dogs don't worry too much about the future or get frazzled about finding the right Christmas present. They just live with gusto - a fine example for all of us.
I've been researching my health situation on the internet, and I am struck, yet again, by the way some patients seem to let their identity become defined by their health problem. I found a forum about "lung nodules", one of the symptoms that I have. Each person who posts ends their post with a listing of how many lung nodules they have, the size and exact location of the nodules, and when the nodules were discovered. The people who post to this forum don't use names, just their list of nodules as their identifiers.

I hope that, regardless of what each of us faces in life (and I'm sure that many of you have faced tougher things than I have), we can keep perspective that we have many other qualities aside from our diseases. I found the a similar phenomenon, years ago, when I was battling endometriosis. I had a series of 7 surgeries to excise all of it, and I read forums on the internet that gave me the same impression - that some endometriosis patients forgot everything else about themselves aside from their disease. I'm sure that's not as prevalent as it appeared - but "basing your identity on your disease" seems like something to be avoided at all costs.

Thanks to all of you for your kind words after my last post. Your kindness means the world to me.

Along those lines, I keep doing the things that I love, and I'll keep doing them as long as I can. I've been tracking animals in our ever present snow, and I was astounded when I found bear tracks the other day! I was shocked that a bear was still awake and walking around, given the snow storms we've had and the sub-zero temperatures that we've endured. The photo below is of the tracks in relatively shallow snow. He also walked through areas where the snow was so deep that his body left a deep furrow in it, and his footprints were hidden by the furrow. I kept thinking that this bear needs to go to sleep!
These tracks were in the general vicinity of the den that I have a camera pointed at. Seeing the tracks made me hopeful that I might find bears sleeping in that den this winter. Here's a photo that brings back wonderful memories of the sow and her cubs playing outside the den in the spring of 2010.
Let's cross our fingers that there's a bear or three in the den! I won't be going near it yet - the bears need time to fall deeply asleep so that a KB peeking in their den won't upset them.


  1. I've known people who have let their illnesses and personal loss define them and who they are. I don't think you'll let any illness or limitations define you as a person because of your inner strength, drive and determination and focus to not let it!

  2. Yes, i can't stand when people define themselves by their conditions, jobs, political party, etc. We are all so much more complicated than these knee jerk descriptions.

    Hope those bears are asleep soon.

  3. I suspect that people who allow themselves become defined by their disease don't fare nearly as well as those who strive to maintain some balance and perspective. I think that's true of many things, though. I grew up with some rather ugly abuse, but after I was out of that cycle, I never thought of myself as an abuse victim, or even survivor. Yes, it colored who I am, but I would never give it so much power over my life as to let it define who or what I am. I rarely even talk about it, because I don't want people to see me that way. I prefer to be known as creative, artistic, kind or a host of other things!

    Maybe the bear is waiting for Santa to show up before he takes his long winter nap!

  4. These are hurdles that you are climbling over KB. And they will not mar your journey. They may grasp at your ankles and try to trip you, but we know you will fight it and stay on your path.
    You are "our KB". You are the one who shares the wonders of your world with us. You are our gift.

  5. First I must say that the photo of rolling in the snow brought a smile to my face.
    You have the right attitude KB. My MOM has never let her disease define who she is or what she does. I can’t tell you how many people say, “Should you be going backpacking/hiking/working long hours/etc with your “condition”. She usually says, “Why should that determine who I am and what I do? If I let it define who I am then “it” has won. I choose to live to the fullest and enjoy all that God has placed before me.”
    You keep going friend and know that you are a part of our prayers and you ARE an inspiration.

  6. Take a lesson from K and R. Our K-9 friends live in the moment. Yesterday is no more, it holds no wonder and no joy. Today is where the joy is. Roll in the snow, it does wonders for the spirit.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  7. Hi KB, I agree with you very much about not accepting your condition as being "yours". As an older person, I know lots of people who DO that and its not healthy at all. So another three cheers for you, girl, just deal with it and do the best you can!

    Thats some pretty pups out there having fun!

    Cheers and hugs,


  8. What a strong, uplifting post . Courage isn't defined by those who fought and didnt fall but by those who fought, fell and rose again. Stay strong.

  9. Hi KB, as you say, if we could think like our dogs and live for the moment we would all be happier. With your daily rides and the photos you take to share, you certainly make me feel good. So I thought maybe I could 'label' you, not as someone who has health issues, but as the magnificant photographer whom I love to visit. Take care and keep on amazing me!! No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  10. Those bears are staying up too late. Maybe they needed a bit more nourishment before they hunkered down.

    It must be hard not to let physical issues consume your life. I think that is what happens with the people who identify by their disease. Your attitude seems much better.

    Mango Momma

  11. We all agree that it is a sad thing to let oneself be shaped by what one has answered, be it personally or as part of a group. #1 says she tries to shape herself on Tommy's joy in life!

  12. No one would ever call you a whiner!!

    Sending rottie kisses on this beautiful Sunday!

  13. I love your thoughts on identity here, KB. I think our identity is shaped more by how we respond to our circumstances as opposed to the circumstance itself.

    Best snow slide dog photo ever!!!

  14. Hi Y'all,

    So excited about the possibility of exciting bear cubs this spring! Wowsers!

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  15. I really hope the Drs. are able to find out what is going on and you're able to find a good treatment. When things get hard I think it's important to keep enjoying the things you love. Although I know it can be hard. But, I think doing that really helps us keep going.

  16. Somehow I knew you were not the type to be defined by illness or adversity.

    My father died in his 50s from a rare disease. My mother defined her life thereafter as a grieving widow. She missed out on so many things in life until her own early death ten years later.

    I love the duo so totally enjoying the snow. It makes me smile just to look at them.

    Fingers crossed for a bear or three in the den again this winter. And positive vibes for you as well.

  17. The photo with rolling in the snow puts a smile to my face.

    Yah, yesterday has gone away, any hurt feelings and heart ache must be gone also. Face another day with determination and full of hope.

    Dog Fence
    Pet Solutions
    Its All About Bichon

  18. KB - just read your last few posts as I've not been able to catch up for a bit. I know that whatever the universe has to throw at you, you'll handle with strength and grace. Sending you many positive thoughts today!

  19. I love your mantra of not allowing whatever ails you to become your identity. And I LOVE the photos of your dogs playing in the snow!

    I hope those bears are snuggling, too. It's too cold for them to be out now, and more chill on the way!

  20. K and R will unknowingly keep you moving KB...that is what they are supposed to do...listen please let The Runner know that partners need support as well....MERRY XMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!


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