Saturday, May 29, 2010

olivia


olivia is my middle child; my only daughter.  she turned 18 yesterday.

something i haven't written about here are the struggles we've had over the last few years with chronic illness.  olivia was diagnosed with something called indolent systemic mastocytosis.  mastocytosis is a mast cell disorder.  mast cells produce histamine.  her mast cells go crazy and her body produces a lot of histamine.  this can be acute and life threatening but it can also cause chronic pain. 

i was up multiple times a night with her the first year she was so sick.  she was sick in bed for days on end.  i can't really even describe that time to you here.  in fact, when i got my coffee and sat down to write you something i had no idea i would launch into this.  sometime i will try and do it justice and really tell this story. 

but olivia.  i have never met someone so strong and lacking self-pity.  she put one foot infront of the other.  she never said "why me?"  and believe me, i said those words over and over again in my head at that time.  why her.  anyone but her.  there was just one time she broke down emotionally and this is what she said to me: "i'm sorry you have to go through this."  she said this to me.

but today she is doing somewhat better.  the past few months she has been going to school most days and living a relatively normal teenage life.  when she was first diagnosed we were told there was no cure.  we were told that maybe within her lifetime there would be one.  now they are testing different iterations of a drug which seems just a few years away from a cure.

one thing we realized a couple years into her sickness is that she also suffers from chronic debilitating migraines.  meaning she has migraines a few times a week which last sometimes days.  which translates into having migraines, um, all the time.  i've never had one but i can tell you that this has been just as painful for her as the mastocytosis.  the thing which really helped her to start to function and have a life is taking migraine medications.

i never liked the saying "you don't get what you can't handle in life."  it seems fairly sadistic.  i consider the fact that she has to live with this an outcome of bad luck and bad genetics.  but at the same time, i know many people would not have been able to handle this with her monumental strength and grace.  i am in awe of her as a mother and as a woman.

there really are so many pieces to this story.  how this changed how she experienced being a teenanger.  how it affected her socially.  how it feels to be just starting out in life but already know pain inside and out.  she is a gifted writer and i hope someday she can tell this story in her own words because i know there is so much more to this i can't imagine.

so now you have a small piece of this story and our family life.   will you join me in wishing olivia a happy 18th birthday?  i wish her every possible happiness a mother can wish.  she has taught me so much.  she is truly amazing.

54 comments:

abby try again said...

wow.
don't even know what to say other than thank you for sharing this.
hugs to you and o, and happy birthday strong girl!

PoleStar Jewelry - Handcrafted said...

Happy birthday Olivia! Wonderful girl :)

Marcy said...

Olivia, hope you had a wonderful, happy birthday! I wish you many pain-free days ahead - days of warmth and smiles. I hope you'll share your writing - your strength could be an inspiration and a gift to many. No wonder your mom is so proud! {love the name 'Olivia', too}

Posy Moe said...

I am incredibly moved and inspired by Olivia's strength. Happy Birthday, Olivia!

katy elliott said...

Happy Birthday Olivia!

Dulce said...

Happy birthday, Olivia:))

nath said...

happy happy birthday Olivia, you sound like a remarkable young woman.

molly YEH! said...

happy birthday olivia! stay strong.

Chemin des Muguets said...

Dear Olivia,

Happy Birthday to a very special young woman.

Love,Marjorie

anabela / fieldguided said...

Wow, this made me tear up! You are both amazing. Happy birthday, Olivia.

littlebyrd said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLIVIA! You sound amazing. AMAZING!! Have a great day girl. (Liane, you are pretty amazing too :) )

Kickcan and Conkers said...

Happy Birthday Olivia, all the way from France!
A very moving post about a very courageous young woman. Thank you for sharing this story.

sew nancy said...

happy birthday olivia. you sound like a very strong girl indeed.
thanks for sharing this story. the gift of being a talented writer is an amazing one and is so good for working through life and it's many stages.
best to you

kelly(simplyworn.etsy) said...

happy birthday Olivia...
what strength you have and
how great that you have such a
cool loving mom.

littlegypsy. said...

happy birthday to olivia!!! truly an inspiration.

Tess said...

Happy Birthday, Olivia! I am only 6 years older than her, so I'm very impressed with her strength as a peer of sorts.

I'm so relieved to hear that they are making advancements and are so much closer to a cure. That's really amazing and wonderful.

I grew up with migraines from the age of 12 to 18, about one a week, and I do know how debilitating they are. They would send me into uncontrollable shivers and convulsions, teeth chattering, and such intense nausea and head pain that I couldn't be bothered to speak or move or open my eyes.

Anyways, my best wishes to your daughter and again Happy Birthday! I'd like to meet her someday!

snappingtwig said...

Happpy Birthday Olivia .....you are an inspiration !!!
sending *big hugs* and I think your mom is pretty great too !!
xoT

Kristina said...

Paljon Onnea Sinulle Olivia!

Toivoo,
Kristina

(Lots of happiness to you, Olivia!
Wish,
Kristina)

Greetings from Finland to you and your mother :)

Marchi Wierson said...

happy birthday olivia!! hugs and love!

abby said...

Happy Birthday Olivia! The grace and strength that your mom described you having are qualities that the whole human lot could gain from, and be inspired by. I appreciated learning more about you. You both are amazing ladies (and Olivia, you are super lucky to have such a rad mom).

Have a superb birthday, spent just the way you like it. xo

Tone Lileng said...

I'd love to join in on this - so happy birthday Olivia, and to your mum for shearing! I wish you and your family all the best. My husband has been seriously ill for years, so I know at least how this affected him, my life and family with a newborn and a three years old. He's fortunately healthy now after years with rollercoaster-periods. I can't imagine how it is to know there is no cure yet. But positive that there is something going on with finding one. I'll send you positive thoughts on that :)

Beeing creative helped us, getting my time for painting, yoga and meditation as a relative. And Olivia beeing expressive in writing sounds great. And I guess your sensible photos will match up perfectly. Maybe a inspiring, dreamy, healthy project together would give you a needed rest and lovely mother-and-daughter time.

Have a lovely celebration - and plenty of positive dreams for the future to come

Cindy said...

thank you for sharing her/your story. Happy Birthday to Olivia! blessings and hugs!

mayaluna said...

Happy Birthday Olivia! You are a strong and amazing young woman!
***********
I'm so glad to know a little bit more about your daughter, Liane. Thank you for opening up and sharing your/her story.
xox,
maya

Deb Z said...

Happy 18th Birthday, Olivia!

Chrissie said...

Happy Birthday from UK Olivia!

A Perfect Gray said...

beautiful. thank you for giving us a piece of your lives and of your story.

happiest of birthdays to your strong and beautiful daughter...

Marichelle said...

Happy birthday Olivia!! I hope you have an unforgettable day! Liane, can't wait to finally meet you at Renegade!

Graça Paz said...

Congratulations OLIVIA with a mazing name and grace!And congratulations to Olivia mother too.i guess she deserves*

Graça Paz

Debra said...

Happy Birthday, Olivia! You sound like an amazing and determined young woman. I admire your strength. I hope your day is everything you dreamed.

Blessings to you,

_Deb

k said...

thank you for sharing this. olivia is a very brave young woman, and i wish her all the best on her 18th!

Melissa de la Fuente said...

Oh gosh...absolutely! I wish you an incredibly happy 18th birthday dear Olivia. I hope your 18th birthday is filled with laughter & love. What a beautiful post Liane...I never know how anyone shores up against pain like Olivia's. But, I have so much respect & admiration for her. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I wish you all the very, very best.
xo
Melis

simple things said...

Liane, please wish Olivia a happy birthday from me.

I understand what it is like to live with chronic, debilitating illness from a young age. I hope that she continues to find relief from her pain.

She sounds like a beautiful, strong and special woman. You are blessed to have each other.

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Dear Olivia

You have a beautiful name.
I'm interested in writing too.
I have an extra copy of a wonderful book. Bird by Bird
do you have it?
If not, I'd love to send it to you for your birthday milestone.
xx
Julie

Pretty Neat Designs said...

three cheers for Olivia on her birthday!
cheer!
cheer!
cheer!

blue moss said...

happy, happy birthday lovely olivia...wishing you all the best.
and happy day to your lovely mom
michelle

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

oh wow, what a gutsy chick Olivia is. thank you for telling this story, i have never heard of that condition before, and it sounds like a massive challenge to live with.

what an amazing daughter you have.

happy birthday Olivia!!

annekata said...

Happy Birthday Olivia!

greenemama said...

happy birthday, olivia! you share a birthday with my 8 year old son. he amazes me every day and i hope he still amazes me when he's 18 and brings me as much happiness as you bring to your mama. best wishes to you.

explodingcucumber said...

Happy Birthday Olivia! You are a strong woman!

Leililaloo said...

As i am reading this tears are swelling in my eyes...I whish you all so so much strenght to deal with this. Your Girl is amazing!!! So are you!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Mandy Behrens said...

Happy Birthday sweet Olivia. Your mom and I only met a year ago (online) and I've greatly enjoyed her friendship. I can only imagine how wonderful it is to have her as your mother. May you always find happiness. You teach valuable life lessons...wise beyond your years. All my best, Mandy

BrittanButterfly said...

Happy Birthday Olivia!!! (I LOVE that name!) I am a day late, but I hope this is the best birthday yet!!!

Kim said...

What an amazing young woman. You must be proud of her. I would not be able to be as strong as she seems to be. I hope I can read some of her writing. Happy Birthday, Olivia.

Emmaandmaha said...

Happy Birthday Olivia! I hope you have a fantastic day and you get to do all that your heart desires. All the best and hugs to you from Chicago!:)

Sarah said...

happy birthday olivia! 18 is such an amazing age, i think you're going to do incredible things. look forward to hearing more about you..

REBEKAH BROOKS said...

Happy birthday, many blessings to her!

Libby said...

happy birthday to olivia! such inspiring gals, the two of you.

Lisa said...

Olivia, happy belated birthday! You sound like an incredibly strong and positive soul in the midst of great adversity. The world needs positive role models like you :)

Liane, you're pretty incredible as well. Thank you for writing this up. That in itself takes strength.

Keep up the faith!! Hope your next year brings many blessings.

sevenpoppies said...

I wished her a happiest birthday when I saw your post. I don't know why i didn't say so at the time.
Oliva - you are strong, this I know. The burden and unwant of chronic ailments is unkind, and unreasonable, and this I know too. But we can find there is much to be discovered in the moments of silence and rest. Personal wants and bridges too. Family and friends and the truest of loves. I hope your journey finds you well and has your heart full.

(and stay strong momma, too)

xo Liz

joeyfivecents said...

I feel a kinship as a mom as my only daughter is the middle child and also named Olivia. Although mine only just turned 12, it is inspiring to learn of your Olivia and the special relationship that you share. What an amazing young woman she is!

♥ w o o l f ♥ said...

life hits hard, sometimes... happy birthday to olivia, though, and the best possible future for the both of you's.

radzimire said...

Joyeux anniversaire, Olivia!

astulabee/nicole said...

your family's stories are so inspiring! thank you so much for sharing them and happy birthday to Olivia!

Something White said...

This story makes me completely silent. Filled with admiration also, for both your daughter and you.
It´s a bit late, but I send all my best wishes of happiness, joy and sunshine to Olivia!
Many regards, Marjolijn

by the way, I like your vintage-style :)