At the age of two I was diagnosed with chronic inflammation of the lungs and allergic asthma. I grew up sick, hospitalized a couple times a year. I knew nothing different so perhaps it’s given me an edge in dealing with illness. The joint pain started when I was 16. I assumed it was due to playing basketball and dancing. I remained silent about it as I had learned to hide my illness for the sake of being able to participate in the activities I loved. Over the years the pain steadily increased. I made excuses and put it out of my mind as much as possible. Worked and went to college full time, got my degree in graphic design, and continued to push myself for the future I had planned for my life.
Four years ago my stress levels greatly increased. It was like an avalanche hit me and my family. My mom slipped into severe mental illness again (severe paranoia & delusions), and my dad was diagnosed with cancer and lost his job in the same week. In the span of a year I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, mixed connective tissue disease, neuropathy, “awake” seizures, osteoporosis (lost 1-1/2″ of height), carpal and cubital tunnel, fibromyalgia and vasculitis. Inflammation affects my entire body, including my vascular system. My blood vessels were bursting which greatly frightened me. My immune system attacked everything including my heart. I lost hearing in one of my ears for almost a year. My doctors say I’m a “very complicated case.”
I was living in the future. Most tasks revolved around a long term goal. Well, that wasn’t much fun and I was riddled with anxiety about whether or not I was on “schedule” with that plan. People aren’t trains. We each have a different path to take on this journey. Finding that ever-so-difficult balance between past, present and future is a great feat and a task that never ends.
Life has forced me to confront many issues, head-on and quickly. What does one do when they’ve spent their life working hard, focused on the future, and then that near future becomes questionable? Live in the present, and draw strength from the past, with a beautiful glimmer of the future.
Once I stopped trying to figure out who I was, or was meant to be, I became who I am. By truly releasing the past and the future, a total surrender, I was able to free myself to live in the moment and love fully.
Jeannette also sent me an email recently and asked me to share that her Mom is now mentally well and her Dad remains cancer free! Wonderful news, Jeannette!!!