Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine


Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine

Through it All

Susan Schreer Davis, contributing writer and Voice of Hope for all those seeking inspiration in their day-to-day lives. Follow along on social media and

As I sat with my lap top, trying to write, choir members chatted on the sofas behind me in the coffee shop nook of the John’s Creek United Methodist Church. With the afternoon rehearsal finished, conversation helped pass the time before the Holiday Pops concert began. Dressed in bright holiday sweaters, sipping coffee, I envied the long-time friends.

Still recovering from my ninth orthopedic surgery four weeks ago, I’ve grown used to not participating in music extravaganzas. But I miss them. On occasion, I’ve served as a paid accompanist, which actually requires less energy than breathing and singing. But even my mom, at 74 years of age, can still keep up with the rigorous Atlanta Symphony Chorus schedule while I limp behind.

Fortunately, my oldest son, Nathan, who directs the church’s children and youth choirs, took me to the Christmas with the ASOconcert Saturday night. Ducked behind an oversized umbrella, we climbed the hill next to symphony hall—a distinct feat for me. Winter coats barely kept us warm as rain blew from all directions.

But once inside, the tall ceiling and wide-open spaces transported me far away from the cold wintry night—and the tiny hospital room where I recovered for five days. In fact, I felt so far removed from those long uncomfortable days, that I forgot it’s totally normal that I still don’t feel the best.

My surgeon opted to fuse my back by going in through my abdomen. While I’ve had multiple surgical experiences, I’ve never woken from anesthesia and faced gastro issues. A month out, I’m still nauseas and not sure what to eat. And over time, I’ve come to realize that not eating has taken an energy toll.

Thankfully, a pain pills gave me what I needed to dress sharp and head downtown with my son Saturday night—where I shouldn’t have been surprised as tears fell. Moved by the array of sound, I gave way to emotion half way through the concert when we stood for Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

After a week of tummy trouble, as the singers sang and the orchestra played, all that is Christmas broke through my tired soul, inciting an overflow of hope that rolled down my cheeks.

For those few moments, I felt fully awake. Fully alive. And at peace with my world.

When the performance ended, we found and hugged Mom, and then drove back to Nathan’s apartment so he could take me to the Holiday Pops concert at his church the next evening. Now, two days later, I’m at home, waiting for Mom to pick me up so we can head across town and hear Nathan’s high school chorus students perform their Christmas concert tonight.

While my body could probably use a nap, my soul longs to watch my son in action. So, I’ll press on today, rest tomorrow—and email my doctor to see if we can’t get a handle on my stomach.

And through it all, I’ll continue the constant juggling act, which the holidays accentuate. I’ll grieve some for what I can’t do. And then bask in the glory of what I do accomplish—even if aided by drugs, other drivers, and a lot of rest in between.


About the Author: Susan Schreer Davis lives with her husband, their cat named, Eggs, and the challenging effects of mitochondrialdisease. Learn more about Susan, her latest book and many songs at:

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