I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be – Einstein
Melodie has one last hurdle to the top, once again, metaphorically, to stand at the rim of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. That was her trek to triumph in 2007. After a bout with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), or simply an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks itself, Melodie worked her way back from being paralyzed to standing upright. The disorder followed a minor travelers’ infection from a vacation in Mexico. There’s a long story behind the GBS, her months of rehabilitation, with steps forward and steps back, but that’s for another time. Right now, it’s important to know about the trek to triumph in 2007. It has a direct connection to her strong mindset and her medical challenge today.
It was not of Melodie’s choosing. Her husband Jim, a diehard scientist-type, left-brain thinker, and psychiatrist chose the Big Island for their twenty-fifth anniversary celebration. His intent, so she could stand at the top of Kilauea volcano as a symbol of victory over the obstacles and challenges posed by the disabling GBS illness. This was to be the start of her new life back into the world.
The half-mile path to the top was rocky, not only with rocks and uneven steps, but cries of protest. She hung onto the walker’s handles for dear life as she stumbled and tripped. The climb to the rim was excruciating and slow. As she moved upwards compassionate people gathered behind her and joined in Jim’s mission to get her to the top. Two strong men, visitors from Sweden took over Jim’s position as pusher and support, and they were relieved in turn by a family of four from Seattle. As she moved closer to the rim, the procession of helpful strangers cheered her on, and willed her to the top. In the remarkable, assisted climb, Melodie alternately cried out, “I can’t do this,” and then laughed hysterically.
When the procession finally reached the rim, Melodie sat quietly on the walker’s seat for a few minutes to catch her breath. She stood up on wobbly legs, and supported by Jim, she walked the few steps to the rim of the volcano. This was a moment of major change in her life. She leaned over the guardrail, looked straight into the fiery center of Kilauea, spread her arms out, and with force and perfect pitch sang “Amazing Grace.”
It reverberated around the volcano, creating an emotional revival among the crowd. They joined in song; they clapped, laughed and hugged her in celebration. It was a moment of great power, a moment that connected her with life again.
Melodie has this one last hurdle to the top, but this time the trek to triumph in 2015 is on flat ground here at home. She’s in the long chemotherapy treatment process for cancer. She has ups and downs, long stays in the hospital and many days in the infusion center. Jim is still her pusher and supporter, and she still sings “Amazing Grace” in her mind everyday. But she needs an emotional revival among the crowd, to join in song, clap, laugh, hug her to wellness, and connect her back with life again.
Please, faithful follower friends, be Melodie’s “crowd.”