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Finding Inspiration in Illness

Inspiration—Lisa Delmar-Edmonds with her daughters, (top) Lucia and (bottom) Sirena, and husband, Kevin, in Long Beach, January 2023.

by Lisa Delmar-Edmonds
Long Beach, Calif.

Subscriber since 2006

At the end of April 2022, the day after my youngest daughter, Lucia, celebrated her seventh birthday, she was admitted to the hospital following a scary seizure-like experience. She ended up being hospitalized for four weeks. 

She was in extreme pain, lost the ability to hold her head up and to walk and underwent a near complete personality change. She was constantly being poked and prodded by doctors and nurses. My 10-year-old, Sirena, was also separated from us for weeks because we were in and out of the hospital. I was in survival mode, dealing with each obstacle as it came up. 

The members in my district were chanting for Lucia and my family. Knowing that there were so many people out there sending us daimoku made a huge impact on me. I could genuinely feel it keeping me afloat.

Eight weeks after she was first hospitalized we received a diagnosis. Lucia tested positive for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody disorder (MOGAD). This is a rare neuro inflammatory autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the optic nerve and can also cause inflammation in the spinal cord and brain. Often it takes months or years to diagnose. Left untreated, it could’ve had serious effects on her eyesight, organ function and mobility.

Only two pediatric neurologists in California specialize in MOGAD, and we were able to get an appointment with one of them five days after receiving her diagnosis. The circumstances were ideal for her to start the correct long-term treatment, which prevented her from losing her eyesight and mobility.

One morning this summer as I was chanting, I glanced at an article from the World Tribune that lay open on my altar. One line was highlighted, which I found out later was done by Lucia. It reads, “To see illness as an opportunity” (June 10, 2022, World Tribune, p. 9).

I was both inspired by Lucia, who herself has undergone tremendous health issues, and proud that by modeling my own daily Buddhist practice  and clipping inspiring quotes from the SGI-USA publications she took it upon herself to find inspiration in this quote.

Words highlighted by Lucia in the World Tribune during her illness.

With the Buddhist concept of “turning poison into medicine” in mind, Lucia and I are planning on hosting a plasma drive. Her life-saving treatment is available only because of people’s plasma donations. 

There is so much wisdom in Nichiren Daishonin’s writings and in Ikeda Sensei’s encouragement that I get from reading the publications. They’re so rich. I have a notebook full of quotes and articles that have resonated with me. And they aren’t only talking about me in my house in Long Beach; they help me connect to the whole world.

As someone who grew up practicing Buddhism myself, I often wonder what is the best way to raise my kids so that they feel connected but not forced. I’ve found that modeling through my example—reading the publications and making my practice one of my priorities—helps me show them what to do when they need it.

Feb. 3, 2023, World Tribune, p. 8

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