Franklin the Turtle is my Spirit Animal

A friend of mine messaged me this morning and told me about the book that her son chose last night before bed. He picked out their nighttime story off the bookshelf as usual and it ended up being a Franklin the Turtle book with a message that feels serendipitous.

Here is the text message she sent me this morning:

In the book, Franklin hurts his shell (he is a turtle) playing soccer. He needs to get it fixed and requires a surgical procedure. During the days leading up to the operation, his friends and family keep telling him how brave he his. When he arrives at the hospital on the day of his surgery, the nurse tells him that they need to take an X-ray. Franklin, a normally mild-mannered turtle, refuses and starts to cry. The nurse asks him what is wrong. He says, (and I paraphrase): “Everyone has been telling me how brave I am. But if you take a picture of my insides you will see that I am very scared. I am not brave at all.”

The nurse calmly explains to him: “Franklin, everyone gets scared, especially before a surgery. Doing that what you have to do even though you are scared to do it, that is what makes you brave.”

“Be Brave” has been my mantra since the diagnosis 2 weeks ago. It’s on my Facebook profile, it’s the lock screen on my phone and I say it in my head to myself when I’m nervous. That being said, I’ve only told a few people this secret:

When I say, “Be Brave” to myself it’s a combination of 10% reminding myself that it’s true and 90% trying to convince myself that it might be true. And today I felt like Franklin, like anyone looking at me could see right through me and see how nervous and scared I am.

But tomorrow I’m going to do that thing that I am scared to do and I know I’ll be better and healthier for it. Unfortunately that knowledge and not feeling nervous aren’t connected in any way shape or form. But as anxious as I am (the nervous cough is in full effect), the love, support, kind words, prayers, positive vibes and good drugs will be the things that get me through the toughest day in memory.

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