One year. 365 days with 151 as a hospital patient.
November 12, 2019 is Kitti’s one year mark.
That’s how we’ve been referring to the impending date. To call it an anniversary seems obscene. To call it a celebration of her life sounds like a funeral. Some individuals we know refer to their own date(s) as their Brainaversary, their Rebirth, or their Recovery Date.
It’s a date where Kitti’s memories suddenly cease, and the following days and months need filled in. It’s a distinct date in which Kitti now categorizes her own life, her relationships, and even her possessions as either Before or After.
There are no bad days After. There are good days and there are sad days. The good days are plentiful, as even the small wins prove so. On the sad days, we focus on gratitude.
Shortly after discharge, one of Kitti’s favorite doctors challenged her to answer the following prompts before bed every night:
· Name someone who you are grateful for today.
· Name something good that happened today.
· What are you most proud of accomplishing today?
Truth be told, the first few weeks her “something good” was usually pistachio ice cream (even when she hadn’t eaten it that day) and the “someone” she was (and is) grateful for was Ted. Ever the task master, Kitti found a way to shorten the gratitude exercise by getting Ted to take her out for ice cream and being proud that the place had pistachio on the menu - thus getting her three prompts done very expeditiously. As the exercise continued on, it expanded to include her favorite doctors, her treasured PTs Sara, Allen and Brittanie, her OTs Becky, Allison and Casey, SLPs Jessica, Laura, Brooke and Jennifer, and of course, her large circle of supporters, family and friends.
Kitti is choosing to mark the date with some private activities, turning down suggestions of a group dinner or a get together of any kind. A day of personal reflection and of hope for the future, she is choosing to celebrate progress, healing, resilience and continued strength by expressing her gratitude to the medical community who have guided and nurtured her this past year – those she remembers clearly, those that may be a voice she vaguely recognizes, and those whose role in her journey has to be explained to her. Kitti was giddy with joy as she prepared her gifts of appreciation.
Kitti has named November 12th her Survivor Day. Please join Kitti by taking time before bed tonight to reflect on your own “someone”, your own “something” and to be proud of your small wins.
And yes, Kitti's plans do involve pistachio ice cream.
Happy Survivor Day, Kitti.