Pippa Rea

Pippa's Journey with a Brain Tumour

Power of the Mind – Mental Attitude

on March 20, 2015

I snap a lot of photos on my phone that I don’t use for anything except reference.  They help me remember when the last time was that………… On the March long weekend (which is now nearly 2 weeks ago) Pippa’s improvement continued.  We sat her on the floor to play some games, she felt a sense of achievement helping out with jobs around the house and she even tried her hand at table tennis.  In fact, on flicking back through some photos recently I was struck by how normal this photo looked. At a quick glance, one could think Pippa is not dissimilar to any 11 year old girl sitting on the floor doing a puzzle with her cousin, hair slightly dishevelled from having been outside feeding calves after a visit to the farm.  That’s actually precisely what I tell Pippa.  She is normal.  There is nothing not normal about her.  Pippa is a completely normal 11 year old girl just like every other girl around her.  What is not normal is the lump inside her brainstem but that is not a part of her.  That weekend was the first time Pippa had sat on the floor since January 16th. A few days later Pippa took another downturn.  This time though it was psychological.  It was awful and I was not prepared for it.  It came unexpectedly one night after she had had a most wonderfully fun day.  Why not though?  What normal 11 year old girl wouldn’t get upset, sad and terrified about what she faces.  She has held it together for so long.  That night we all cuddled and watched telly together with Pippa propped up amongst us.  There wasn’t much sleep and fatigue the next day was nasty.  I tried to pull her up and lift her spirits but I couldn’t.  Her physical state seemed to decline with her mindset and I found myself worrying that the improvements had come to an end.  I had to keep bringing myself back from a slump as well.  “Don’t overthink anything, it is what it is, just live each day; each minute,” I would keep telling myself.  I couldn’t devote much attention to the boys because Pippa needed me every single minute; every second actually.   There was nothing we could do and I was feeling it also.  We cooked, the boys were great, I rallied her and we went to school for a couple of visits – once for a fun afternoon tea and games day.  There was a little light in her eyes then, but I could still see she had lost her Pippa spark and with it she’d lost some improvement. Having Pippa down got us all down.  Well, me particularly – the boys were focussed on their school and sport which were good distractions having those routines for them.  I am over having three wheelchairs in my house.  I am over having to negotiate bathrooms that aren’t wheelchair friendly.  I am over being housebound and not being able to simply get in the car and go somewhere.  Anywhere.  (For the past few years our March longs weekend have been spent at Robe with friends).  I am over everything.  The natural response to thinking that is to chastise yourself in a “careful what you wish for” type of scenario or have someone else (or even yourself) say it’s far better than the alternative.  I’ve thought about that and it’s not far better than the alternative.  The alternative should only be that Pippa is an 11 year old girl running around having fun, going to sleepovers, having weekend plays at friend’s, smiling, laughing, waving goodbye heading off to school and participating in all her sports. I was worried from this slump how she would deal with this week.  Pippa’s friend has so beautifully been concerned wanting to work out how he could help so that Pippa wouldn’t miss out on school sports day.  One night recently she had been telling one of the nurses how she used to win every race every year including the kinder year (and that year both the boys and the girls!) until last year when she didn’t.  She was not mentioning this year.  It was on Thursday. I mentioned it casually while we were clearing the table after dinner on Sunday night.  She had surprised me by helping pack up – a little sign that maybe her mental state may have shifted slightly.  Casually I said, “Pippa do you realise school sports are on Thursday?”  She hadn’t.  “Do you want to go?” I asked.  “Of course” was her reply.  I bent down in front of her,  looked her in the eyes and very gently said, “Pippa, what do you see yourself doing on school sports day?”  Without any hesitation she said, “participating in everything I can manage of course.”  With matching enthusiasm James and Patrick immediately decided that they would join her; they would be her team and together the three of them would ensure that Pippa could participate in as much as possible. The week started well because firstly we discovered two players were visiting Pippa’s school.  That got her happy – she was excited.  Off we we went arriving early; Pippa ensuring we wouldn’t miss out on one minute.  Pippa wore her Geelong Cats jumper that had been signed and messaged especially for her by her favourite player, Number 4, Andrew Mackie.  The two players who visited the school were given another old jumper to sign and both of them laughed agreeing they would not touch the treasured one!  We made quite a team, Pippa and I, doing football drills using skills I certanly didn’t know I had! Next was school sports on Thursday.  Pippa was up early ready to walk to school with the boys and me and she wasn’t planning on having a short day either – she was staying as long as the sports were!  The three of them devised that they should bring their own (slightly modified) shot put and discus – Pippa had been practising in the lounge room.  Pippa participated in one way or another in all the field events.  For the track events she handed out the paddles to the place getters.  James and Patrick were indeed creative in how they tackled each event and her classmates were simply beautiful.  It was a sports day that completely encompassed the true meaning of participation and sportsmanship by everyone.

For the first time since last Wednesday Pippa today seems brighter and has a bit more spark in her eyes.  She has had an art class which a friend has started doing with her for therapy.  Lucky “Sis” Marli came over to pick up her birthday card and was the recipient of an impromptu portrait gift!  We finished the afternoon off with a relaxing foot spa whilst eating blueberries.

The power of the mind is incredible.  Today was finally a good day and it was brought on, of all things, by two fabulous days of sport.  That is so very Pippa.

3 responses to “Power of the Mind – Mental Attitude

  1. Flynn wilkinson says:

    Dear Pippa
    Sports day 2015 was the best yet thanks to you, you have always been a gun at sport and you showed you STILL are. It was fun having James and Patrick join blue team. I am glad you are feeling happy , you are AWESOME!
    Love Flynn

  2. Zervosfamily says:

    Thankyou so much for sharing..
    We all loved seeing Pippa participating on the day.. She lifted our spirits also!! Pippa is always in our prayers xx

  3. Diane says:

    The power of the mind is everything Virginia. You have proven that. Sports day was terrific and Pippa had a busy day. A great team effort. Love always.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: