“If you haven’t already, you must be ready to go outside and scream,” my father said recently to me on the phone. We were chatting about everything going on and I was giving him an update on my health. This made me chuckle and I said, “You know, surprisingly, I have not had that urge yet.” Of course I have off days, but I don’t know what it is that allows me to roll with the punches. I guess I adapt well because dealing with my health issues is one of my specialties. So, when health hiccups happen and I get smacked in the face with another challenge and a new normal for my life, I know there is nothing I can do about it but deal with it as best I can. For no matter what battle we are facing, the world does not stop for us. Everything that surrounds us keeps on moving, so why should we stop.

This week I had an overwhelming sense of being blessed, like a set of comforting arms being wrapped around me. It was a wonderful feeling. It was during a walk when I filled my lungs with fresh air and smelled the cool crisp morning breeze. I had an extra bounce in my step as the music playing from my earphones drowned out any negative thoughts or worries. As I brushed away the wisps of hair that blew across my face, I smiled as I looked towards the sun and beautiful surroundings. The water of the American River sounded delightful and looked so inviting, I could almost taste it. I thought of how lucky I am. I have back pain and issues that I will have to deal with forever and adjust my life accordingly. I still don’t have answers as to what is going on with my stomach and pancreas. I have PKD and one kidney, but I was able to enjoy all five senses. I am lucky enough to be able to fill my lungs with precious air and make the most of this beautiful day. At that very moment, I couldn’t ask for much more.

Later that day, after leaving a doctor’s appointment, my mind was overloaded with lots of information that I was trying to digest. I felt slightly overwhelmed. I sat in the driver’s seat of my car for a minute, took a deep breath and then turned on the ignition of my Jeep. I shook my head as the lyrics of the chorus from the song “Better” were playing from my radio.

“I just want to feel good, feel alright
Feel anything but what I feel tonight
I just want to move on with my life
And put the pieces back together
I just want to feel better.”

This is the second time in recent weeks I have left a doctor’s appointment to start my car and hear the chorus of this song playing. I delight and embrace in signs like this one. I smiled, as I am confidant things will get better. I know my health will never be perfect, but I just hope for equilibrium.

I have been fighting for the past six months to overcome new obstacles in life. This is the longest health hurdle Noah and I have gone through on our own since moving away from our family on the east coast. When spending the days alone, it takes a lot of determination and motivation to find the drive to keep pushing through. The rest of the world has kept moving at its fast pace. This week during my walk on the trail, as I stepped one foot in front of the other, I thought of the biggest things I have learned through life. Never shut down. Never stop moving. Power through. Be aware of your health and your body, but don’t let it consume you. When feeling overwhelmed in life, if screaming would make you feel better, then let that frustration out and scream. However, please don’t forget to take a minute and fill your lungs with treasured air and be thankful for what you have rather than what you don’t have.


  1. adriana

    I just received this in my inbox (and have not read it yet) but had to laugh at the ‘SCREAM’ Painting because I have used it on my Facebook Wall to portray better than words the frustation I feel at times with ‘the medical world’ or frustration 🙂 Now I will read this!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Adriana,
      Well yet another connection you have to a blog post! 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading the blog! xo

  2. Laine

    Once again you nailed it! I was just reflecting this
    Morning how I just power through. And look for
    The blessings, reach out to those less fortunate, try not to judge
    Others and keep a balance of energy toward healing and loving.
    Thanks again!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Laine,
      Wonderful to hear we are connected and on the same page! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your positivity and words of wisdom! Keep that positive energy going…it’s infectious! 🙂

  3. Ellie

    Thanks so much for writing I just found out I may need a fistula or graft .

    • Valen Keefer

      Dear Ellie,
      You are very welcome! Sending lots of strength and wishing you all the best as you enter this next chapter. Never lose hope!


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