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)!!!
Today I got to witness a grown woman have a temper tantrum at our local pharmacy. She was having issues with her credit card, that she had just used at another register in the store, without question. She claimed to have a headache and said she just wanted her medication. I totally get that one and felt bad for her. But then she started getting a little rude. Then a lot rude. And loud. GOOD GRIEF. I couldn’t help but start being judge-y. I wanted to tell her that I had just recently managed to survive MY SECOND BOUT of meningitis which had me visiting the depths of headache hell, yet I somehow managed to never be disrespectful to everyone around me. It took every fiber of my being not to tell her how I felt about her behavior. Trust me it took A LOT. And I’ll be honest, the only reason I didn’t say anything was because I thought my intolerance of her behavior was because the pain of the meningitis was still fresh in my mind. I thought perhaps I was just being to harsh in my judgment of her based on my recent experiences. But then a man in line told her to stop. He was very respectful but laid it out in no uncertain terms that she was acting horrendously and that no one around her wanted to hear it. Others chimed in too. She didn’t handle it well at all. But eventually she left. I felt a little relieved that it wasn’t just me feeling that way about her. I don’t know where people like her come from, but I never want to go there. Sure I know that people are often fighting secret battles that aren’t always apparent to even the people closest to them. But I still don’t think that gives anyone the right to behave badly and treat people poorly. I just don’t. And I really should have said so.
Well, I hope you all have a day where you speak your mind!!!
I am not invincible. 2016 beat that into me more times than I can count. There were attacks on my family, health issues, loss of relationships, and a roller coasters of change. I’m not saying that 2016 didn’t have quite a few high points, it did. Blessings were abundant. And I am thankful that most of the issues that presented themselves were resolved. I just needed to weather the storm. Lots of them actually. And those storms were pretty darn rough.
Despite having felt vulnerable, broken, weak, disappointed and scared, I am somehow ending this year with my spirt intact. There were MANY moments when I didn’t think I’d ever feel like myself again emotionally. Physically, I’m getting there and I know in my heart that I will be completely restored in this area too. I really couldn’t be more grateful.
It took me a while to emerge from the darkness of 2016 but when I finally did I felt something wash over me. I’ve always been a pretty cautious person and planned as much as I could throughout my life. But after a lot of soul searching and reflecting on 2016 events I realized that without some serious guts … I will never have any glory. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want fame or any craziness like that. But I do want to achieve some pretty lofty personal goals. And without some bold moves, they aren’t ever going to happen. I see that now. Worry and overly cautious behavior has no place in my life now. None.
I’m not a big resolution maker. But I do love new beginnings and the coming of the new year is exciting to me. As I’ve written before, I like to come up with a New Year mantra. They motivate me and remind me of what is important to my heart.
So after all I’ve survived in 2016 I think it’s time to dig deep and find out what I’m really made of. I’ll use the strength and tenacity that I found this year to make 2017 exactly what I want it to be. Maybe even more. I won’t back down. I will be brave and courageous despite what life throws at me. I’ll also add an element to all this that I’ve never added before. Something that grew out of pain, stubbornness, feeling fed up and being totally OVER IT. Yes, last year broke me … but God gave me the ability and the time to not stay that way. And I don’t plan on taking any of it for granted or wasting one second of my restoration. I will always be grateful for the defeat I felt in 2016, because in those moments of complete and utter brokenness I became a little more edgy, daring and determined. A combination I can’t wait to put into action.
Well, I hope you all have a YEAR where you become FEARLESS!!!
I’m having a really tired day. Ugh. Granted, I’ve been tired for over six weeks now. But holy moly, I am in no way use to it. Then I get these little gems, days when the fatigue feels magnified by a BAZILLION. This recovery is long. I know it. Heck, I’ve survived it once already in my life. I have a choice, I can either lay on the couch all day OR I can function and LIVE tired. Trust me, when those are your only two options, it kinda sucks. But I refuse to surrender to lifelessness. The fire inside me won’t allow it. I am determined to get stronger. Even my doctor said that the more I do, the stronger I will become. In reason, of course. He said he has no doubt that I will eventually return to my old active self. If that’s not a motivator to get off my couch and give it my best effort every day, I don’t know what is. As hard aS it is to not just lay down and sleep all day, I won’t abandon the me I used to be. I can’t. She’s still in me. I feel her. And, boy oh boy, is she pissed! She wants to be strong again. She wants to be free. She wants to become more of the woman she was meant to be. And so I choose to press on … and yawn. A LOT.
Well, I hope you all have a day where you refuse to give up!!!