Catching life’s curve balls

Thu, 15th Jun 2017
PREVIEW

Sami Muirhead meets a Sunshine Coast mum battling a rare disease and gets a wake-up call to stop sweating the small stuff.

Sometimes in life you need a little reminder of big problems versus little problems. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The years teach much what the days never know.” Traffic jams, the photocopier jamming again at work and the kids screaming at each other are small problems in the grand scale of life. 

Failing health is as big a problem as it gets. We have our own Sunshine Coast Wonder Woman who has an epic fight on her hands. Elissa Bartholomew is a mum of two kids who has a rare disease called scleroderma, which is incredibly cruel as it basically turns your body to cement over time. There is no cure at this stage. 

Scleroderma is a Greek word that means ‘hard’ and ‘skin’.  When I touched Elissa’s hands I couldn’t help but notice her fingers feel like cold and hard cement. The dead weight and chill of her hands struck me as being so surreal and so strange because they are in such direct contrast to what is clearly a very warm and loving soul who knows only too well what lies ahead. 

Elissa is 43 and has a two-year-old girl who loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar and pretty much everything else little girls her age love. Most of all, she loves her mummy. The Mapleton mum also has an 18-year-old child who is at university and is clearly a loving and devoted son.  

“My biggest fear is that I won’t get to see Darcee grow up or see Tyler find his true love and get married.” Elissa says. “I also fear I wont grow old and grey with my husband Jeff. On top of that, it can be very painful and I have days I cannot lift my head off the pillow because of the pain that comes from the tight skin and muscles. Then there is also the fatigue and constant reflux. That’s a burn I will never get used to.”

Elissa is thinking of others however and is running a charity screening of the new movie Wonder Woman at the Nambour Majestic Cinema on the June 24. The aim of the night is to raise money for research for a cure and to raise awareness about this insidious disease. The fact is it will be heaps of fun with great people at a great venue and great raffle prizes. I am going because I want to show support to this amazing mum.

“My message is to live for the now. Do what makes you happy and do not worry about trying to please everyone, that is not possible. Life will throw you some really big curve balls and you can chose to catch them and become stronger or dodge them and wonder what could have been. Choose to catch them. You may just end up surprising yourself. Am I Wonder Woman? No. Have you seen my legs?  I’d never be able to pull off that costume! I’m just a mum who had a crappy card dealt to her and like all mums who have kids, you’ll do whatever is in your power to see them grow up and become awesome adults.” Tickets are $25 from eventbrite.com.au  See you there. And for the record Elissa, I reckon you should wear the WW costume on the night. 

Sami Muirhead is a radio announcer, blogger and commentator. For more from Sami, tune in to Mix FM.