Letting go of fear

A year ago, I was sitting in the exam room of a Doctor of Rehabilitation at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia talking about my daughter Lily. Lily, who was 2 years old at the time, is a pediatric brain tumor survivor. When she was just over a year old, she had brain surgery and proton radiation therapy. Lily's life has not been typical. The brain surgery damaged her cerebellum--as a result Lily was not yet walking; she suffered from low muscle tone, lack of coordination and ataxia (shakiness).

This doctor told me that most pediatric patients progressed as far as they would progress one year out from their surgery--which meant that he believed Lily would never walk on her own. I sat there and choose to ignore him in the moment--to acknowledge what he said would be acknowledge how I felt about his declaration. I felt angry, scared, indignant and I knew he was wrong. So I said nothing, went to my car and wept. I hate crying in front of my children. But I had no more strength left.

I decided that day to never, ever tell Mike exactly what the doctor said. To tell Mike would be to give my fear even more life--it would pass the fear to Mike. I had to protect him. Through out the coming weeks, I told Mike bits of vague pieces, but never the full story. I told one close friend, swallowed it, stuffed it down and shoved it out of my mind.

During my meditation and yoga nidra practice, I made my intention: "Lily can walk." I repeated it, prayed for it, breathed it, lived it and wholeheartedly fought the fear, quietly. And today, Lily took 30 steps, all by herself. Last week, it was 20 steps. A month ago, 10 steps. Three months ago, 6 steps. One year ago--one week after I saw the doctor, she took 2 steps.

If anything squelches the horrible fire of fear--it is reality. Right now, today, my daughter can walk. She can. She is. She does.

Lily has been my best teacher. Today when something scares you--negate it. Face it and say no. Make it untrue. Because right now, in this very moment, everything is okay. We cannot stop time--but we can live in it.



  1. a comment and a question:

    first, beautiful and entry and congratulations on lily's continued progress. very inspiring account on how to harness the power of fear into determination to overcome it.

    second, i wonder which close friend you confided in? Cosmo or Gizmo? Wait, wrong person....


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