A survivor (times 2) …

One year ago today I woke up early and headed for the gym. I did some speed-work and clocked my fastest 1/4 mile (7:13). Not to shabby! I went home and continued on with my typical morning routine. Then I headed to my dental cleaning. This would be that last time I would feel like myself for months.

Later that day I would find myself in an ER with symptoms I was all to familiar with. I was sick. And despite the fact that no one believed me I knew my body. I had meningitis. Again.

Today is the one year anniversary of my second round of meningitis. Still with so many questions left unanswered. That alone is a demon I must face every day. I have become obsessed with Facebook memories. Trying to find some clue as to how I got so sick so fast. Again. There is nothing there. Nothing. I finished a week of 100,000 logged on my Fitbit. I mention twitchy legs, crazy fast speed-work and a rest weekend. It was to be a well deserved break from my training that was going better than I ever could have hoped for. I was strong and healthy. Race ready. There was nothing in those memories that would indicate that I would become so sick in just mere hours. How can anyone’s brain be that swollen and they not show any signs or symptoms?!?! It’s baffling. Utterly.

There are days that I still feel like a ticking time-tomb. I’m not sure if that feeling will ever go away. The memory of this experience and the fall-out afterward will always be unsettling. The “unknowns” are worrisome at best. But I refuse to cave into fear and let it immobilize me. Life is too precious for that. I thought battling meningitis once was bad enough. Twice, just seems insulting. But I truly believe that life gives us lessons for reasons. Reasons we might not ever understand. And THAT gives me my peace. Trust me, I can easily focus on all the things that this illness has robbed me of. How disruptive it was to, not just my life, but my family’s and friends’ lives as well. I can resent the fact that I still don’t feel like myself and that I fear it happening all over again. I can focus on the anger I feel when I see my precious kids worrying about my smallest of ailments. Children shouldn’t have to worry like that! OH, if meningitis was a person I would have punched it in the throat long ago!

Anyway, as I see it I have two options. I can choose the road paved with anxiety, fear and bitterness … OR … I can be thankful that I even had a road in the first place.

Let’s face it, life is not always easy. Crap happens through no fault of our own. But life can still be beautiful. I’d be lying if I said this illness hasn’t changed me. It has. I am not the same woman who woke up on this day a year ago. I am, for better or worse, the Jennifer I was supposed to be on this day and in this moment. Meningitis helped shaped me. And I’m OK with that. I am an ever-evolving woman who accepts that change and defeat and pain are an acceptable way to form me into the woman I am meant to be. Meningitis was a pit stop. OK fine, TWO. But it wasn’t my final destination. God and the universe clearly are not done with me yet and that’s good … because I still have dreams. And as long as I have breath, scared or not, I will chase them.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are a survivor (times 2)!!!

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Spinning …

We have had a busy summer. It's been fun but we have been on the go since George's graduation day in June. It's honestly been a whirlwind. The past few days we have had at home we spent catching up on life. And by life I mean laundry, HA! Well, that was part of it anyway. But we also had even more running around to do. Ugh. Next week Sid is moving into her new house and George will be moving into his dorm. So we had lots of shopping and packing that needed to be done this week. Not to mention Libs and Reese! Luckily they have a few more weeks of summer left so I still have some time to get their back-to-school things in order. Thank. God.

Last night George and I finished the last of our errands to get him ready for college. I felt so relieved! So relieved that I think my body shut down when I went to sleep last night. I woke up in the same position I fell asleep in. Ouch. And I was rudely reminded by my body that I drank no water yesterday. How is that even possible?!?! Busy anxious mom-ness is how that is possible! Needless to say I was so dizzy when I woke up that I could hardly walk. I guess my body has had quite enough of this summer schedule and has decided it's time for me to rest. OK, fine … I'll reluctantly listen.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you aren't spinning!!!

Head in the clouds …

I’ve always been a dreamer. I think it is one of my biggest flaws and one of my greatest blessings. Even when I was a young woman filled with anxiety I still managed to dream BIG. Now that I’m older many of my anxieties have fallen by the wayside which leaves lots of room for dreaming. I think that by allowing myself to dream I have had a better stronghold on hope. It really has worked for me in just about every situation I’ve been in. Even the really ugly ones. I think the ability to dream has also allowed me to maintain a certain measure of flexibility in my thoughts. If one thing doesn’t work out exactly the way I had hoped it can be easily modified. My thinking can be changed, and before I even realize it a new dream is in place. Some things have to change to bring us to the right place in our lives or to help us reach our goals, right?!?! From the bottom of my heart I believe that both God and the universe direct me in the way I need to go. I find so much comfort in that. Rigidity definitely has no place in this dreamer’s life. With all the twists and turns my life has taken I think rigidity would have been the end of my happiness. My soul would have deflated like a balloon decades ago. My spirit would have been crushed. Dreaming has kept me happy and hopeful. So … I guess I’ll just stick with it.

Well, I hope you all have a day where your head is in the clouds!!!

Happily falling apart …

Most people who know me would say that I hold it together unusually well during times of stress and change. I deal with things straightforward. What’s on my plate that day, gets my effort and attention. When I was younger I was a worry wart. I was anxious about EVERYTHING. That all faded away. Now I save my efforts for the real stuff and even then I remain pretty calm. And optimistic. It drives my crew crazy sometimes. I think they want to see more “emotion” out of me. Trust me, I am one emotional woman. I’m a crier. I laugh at just about everything. And I’m usually the happiest person in the room. But when it comes to stressful situations or change I just gave up freaking out about them. It’s way easier to just deal with them. In a “matter-of-fact” kind of way I muddle through the tough times. I do make a TON of lists. They tend to keep me focused. Plus they are a great visual for me to measure my progress through the problem or situation I’m currently in the thick of.

Regardless of what I’ve been dealing with, when the day comes when I feel like I am finally passed it, I tend to fall apart. I’ll cry more, sleep like a rock and sometimes I get sick. It’s like my mind and body can finally let their defenses down. It’s funny. Even though this is when I feel like a mess, it’s also a time when I feel my strongest. It’s like earning another battle scar. And it’s a reminder that I am a survivor. Again.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you happily fall apart!!!

Unsettled …

Maybe I’m just a really anxious person, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to being a passenger in a car where my child is the driver. Being driven around by a person who I personally fastened into their infant car seat and carrier is just a little freaky in my opinion.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t feel unsettled!!!

Grateful … 

Today I had another doctor appointment and it went great! As frustrated as I am with the bouts of fatigue I am still experiencing, my doctor told me that I am still doing WAY better than I think I am. It made me very happy to hear that. Sometimes when we are in the thick of things we don’t always see what others do. I know I sure don’t.

It’s been almost four months since I got sick. I have had the best medical care and have been treated with the most compassionate bedside manner throughout this whole ordeal. As disruptive and anxiety provoking as this has all been, I couldn’t be happier with my medical team. They really are my biggest cheerleaders.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are grateful!!!