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Mother's Day Salute Series: Kelly Considine for Susan Considine.

POSTED May 06, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate our moms and recognize them for all of the love and nurturing they have provided us throughout the years.  It is the one day that we can acknowledge all of their hard work and dedication and let them know it doesn’t go unnoticed.  Moms are there for every scraped knee, homework question, struggle, and triumph.  They are there to offer a comforting hug after a lost game or congratulate you with flowers at your dance recital.  They offer a shoulder to cry on when you are having a tough day, and they are the first person you want to share good news with!  A mother is the one person who is by your side for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  

In my eyes, my mom, Susan, stands out above the rest, and I am happy to call her my best friend, my hero, and my role model.  Anyone who knows her can attest to how much she cares about people.  Her heart is bigger than her body, and she is the true definition of unconditional love.  She will drop everything to help her family and friends, and she expects nothing in return.  I am very fortunate to call her my mom.  

I was not dealt the easiest hand in life, but my family has been the one constant that has helped me overcome every hurdle I have faced, and my mom has been by my side through it all.  She has gone above and beyond to make me happy.  During my senior year of high school I sprained my ankle playing volleyball, and it developed into a rare nerve condition known as RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy).  This causes me extreme pain and has landed me on crutches for over 7 years.  This came at a crucial time in my life as I was deciding where to go to college.  With my limited mobility and the high level of pain I was experiencing, my mom knew how difficult college would be for me, but she encouraged me to follow my dreams.  Education has always been so important to me and she understood that I would be disappointed in myself if I let my ankle injury hold me back.  Freshman through junior years she would pick me up at the start of every weekend and bring me back to school at the conclusion with a car full of clean laundry and home cooked meals.  She did everything in her power to make my college experience a little easier.  

Getting around campus and dealing with the pain was very tough, and I was ready to quit every semester.  It was my mom that talked me through this and convinced me to give it another go every time I was ready to throw in the towel.  When my nerve condition developed into a movement disorder and I needed extra assistance, it was my mom that quit her job and moved to an apartment at school with me.  She was ready and willing to help me with anything I needed to minimize my pain and make things as easy as possible.  She attended to my medical needs, cooked and cleaned, hosted my friends and classmates, drove me to class, and so much more.  She brought me to physical therapy an hour away, three times a week, along with countless doctor’s appointments.  For two years she lived away from my dad and sister while I finished my undergraduate and graduate programs.  Without the sacrifices she has made, I would not have both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees I hold today.  I owe it all to her!

In the past year, I had 3 separate surgeries out of state, and each time I had to stay in the hospital for several days.  Every morning I was lucky enough to wake up with my mom curled up in a hospital chair beside me.  For one of the surgeries I was in the hospital for 10 days, and she never left…AMAZING!  She even spent her birthday at the hospital with me, away from the rest of my family, which I thought was very special.  Time and time again, my mom has made sacrifices to help me, and I know she would do absolutely anything to take my pain away and see me walk again.  She never complains, even though she has taken on responsibilities that no parent can ever imagine.

Growing up my mom and dad drove me all over Connecticut and out of state for track, soccer, volleyball, and basketball games, which they undoubtedly expected when I was first born.  All new parents expect this kind of responsibility, but mine made sure to never miss any games, academic achievement awards, or other important events, which is rather rare to find with the hectic schedules that people tend to live by these days.  What they didn’t expect at the time was that I would still need to rely this heavily on them 25 years later.  My mom continues to drive me wherever I need to go with no complaints.  The miles she has accumulated driving me to doctor’s appointments in NY and Boston is astounding.  In snow, sleet, and rain she makes sure I get to every appointment.  She spent a good part of this past fall and winter bringing me to NY every other week for follow-ups, occasionally even more frequently.  My mom and dad have brought me to the best doctors and best hospitals in the country.  We saw a team of physicians at the National Institute of Health in Baltimore, Maryland, and I saw another doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.  My parents’ love knows no bounds, and because of them I am not bound by a radius from which to see doctors.  They would travel around the world if that would bring an end to my pain. 

I have seen over 100 doctors for my condition.  I’ve had at least 45 procedures in an attempt to alleviate my symptoms.  Thirteen is the number of extensive surgeries I have endured over the years. I have had a minimum of 12 painful nerve tests to try to find the origin of the problem.  The imaging studies and blood tests have been countless.  Who was there for every appointment, willing to hold my hand for every needle, and the first one I saw when I woke up from every surgery?  My mom.  As much as this journey has been a personal challenge that I live with daily, I know she and my dad have gone through it right alongside me, and they have felt my pain and struggles.

My parents have offered me the greatest support system filled with love and encouragement.  When things got rough they consoled me and motivated me to continue moving forward.  Without my parents’ undying love and support, I would not be in my current position.  Today I finally stand the chance to walk without crutches.  As we say in our house “take one day at a time.”  It is still a long, grueling journey ahead, but I can count on having my mom and dad by my side.   

My mom has truly put her life on hold for me.  She has gone to bat for me more times than I can count.  She has been there for all of the trials and tribulations I have encountered.  My mom means the world to me, and I owe her everything.  

Mom, you are my biggest fan and number one supporter.  You have believed in me every step of the way.  You have picked me up when things got tough and helped me overcome all of the hurdles that I have experienced.  I admire your strength, determination, and love, and you are the kind of mother I can only hope to become one day. 

Happy Mother’s Day!  I love you!



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