After 37 years of living, here is the thing I have learned about LIFE...
If you live in the past, you are going to be depressed. If you live in the future, you are going to be anxious. It is all about today, right now, this very second because tomorrow is not a promise. Trust me, crazy things can sneak up out of nowhere and sideline you for the rest of your life. That C. diff kicked me off the playing field of living my life for 11 months straight. Not to mention, having an abscess that was wrongly diagnosed as a benign cyst and living with it inside my body for 9 months. I felt as though I was dying everyday, which makes sense because it was literally eating the inside of my body.
We all know of people unexpectedly getting into crazy accidents or people who were just fine yesterday, but today they received news that they have early onset MS and can't walk. We all know stories similar to these, whether it's people close to us or situations reported on the news or in magazines.
I am telling you life happens and you have very little control over how it plays out. The sooner you embrace it and accept life for what it is, the happier your life will be. The happier YOU will be. I couldn't control the cancer that came back into my family's lives after 12 years of remission. It came back with a vengeance and took over my mother's body. God knows I tried to control every other thing in my life... I'll save you the suspense and admit that I failed at it miserably because we don't get to pick and choose who gets what or when. My mom's cancer slowly spread from the original breast cancer diagnosis when she was 34 to ravaging her skeletal system at 46. It later spread to her lungs and her liver. After years of chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplants, and God only knows what else, the cancer killed her. I was there to witness her fight to just have one more day on this planet.
If you asked me 14 years ago how I handled this, a terrified 22-year-old would tell you she felt helpless and unbelievably alone. I often asked, "why didn't the drugs work?" I replayed that question in my mind over one million times. Sometimes I would ask, "... or did they work too well and kill all her good cells and leave her body without a fighting chance?" I didn't know the answer to those questions back then and I still don't to this day.
This left me in a downward spiral trying to control and grab ahold of anything and everything in my life. I graduated from Michigan State University 4 months after her death. Most days I found it hard to breathe. I was constantly running from my fears. What if that cancer comes for me? I was actively having MRI and mammogram appointments. I remember being 24-years-old and going into Northwestern Hospital after having my mammogram done and asking them, "what now? I don't want to get this." The nurse just looked at me and said, "There is nothing. We hope early detection will greatly reduce your risk of the cancer spreading if you ever get it." WHAT??? I had no power over the dice of life rolled for me.
I couldn't accept this. I prayed to God to show me something. I prayed to God to tell me something that would make me feel like I would be safe and that everything would be okay.
To my surprise, my prayers were answered. In my opinion, God sent me so many life lessons. During the next 10 years to be exact, God taught me patience and the importance of the day like I never expected. God showed me nothing in life is a given. Your health... no guarantee. Having kids... no guarantee. Having family there for you unconditionally... no gaurentee. You would be surprised by who shows up when all your cards are exposed and your hand falls flat. During these years, I felt sad and my body was literally broken. I fought for fertility. I fought to get rid of this horrible infection in my colon that caused massive malabsorption, weight loss, colitis, and severe fatigue. I fought to be heard as I was told by multiple doctors that I was suffering from a cyst the size of a softball, but later found out it was actually an abscess that had consumed my ovary while I was pregnant. NOBODY heard my voice! I just wanted to feel well enough to lay on the floor as my then 2-year-old child played. I couldn't even do that most days.
After all of this hell on earth and after the stool transplant, the abscess was finally found and removed during my c-section of my second pregnancy. I felt as though I could breathe again. My water broke at 1:30am on July 25th and at 3am I was blessed with my second child. After my daughter was delivered, the doctors did a full abdominal exploring procedure and this was when they realized that the so called "cyst" was in fact an abscess that had attached to my colon after leaking Gangrene inside of me. There was no trace of my ovary. The abscess literally ate it while I was pregnant. I know every doctor in that practice must have sh*t their pants in fear. NOT one of them listened to me. Not one said "I am sorry." My daughter and I were lucky to be alive. At 5:30pm that same exact day with the abscess out of me, I felt the best I had felt in years. That poisonous abscess the size of a softball that made a home right next to the beautiful baby girl inside of me was finally gone. My brain could actually think clearly. The cloud from that infection was literally gone from every inch of my body. I do not remember ever feeling so good even with a solid fresh 5-inch incision across my abdomen from the c-section.
That brings me to today... My daughter is now 4-years-old. After 10 years of sickness, grieving the loss of my mother, and fertility problems, I learned the lesson I now live by. I wish I didn't need so many lessons to get me where I am now, but I did. Today is all that matters. I couldn't control any of those things that came into my life. I couldn't control the cancer in my mom's body, I couldn't control the C.diff, I couldn't stop the abscess from developing, and I certainly couldn't control that my Fallopian tubes were blocked. This is the hand I was dealt. I hated it back then and felt it was unfair, but I didn't know then what I know today.
Life is unfair. Things happen and NOBODY asks us for our vote. Life isn't about if you get knocked down. It's about if you stay knocked down or decide to keep getting back up. I am going to save you all the mystery of this secret. YOU are all going to lose your parents eventually. People in your life will become disabled or sick. It might even be you. You don't get a vote so enjoy today! Don't waste your life worrying about something you have no control over.
Let me now tell you that when it happens, you can just deal with it then.
I want to enjoy every single minute I have the best I can. It took me years to find the balance I feel today. I am happy. I'm at peace with my "what ifs." I feel the world is mine. I am no longer hiding from every thought and everyone else's opinions. If someone doesn't like how I choose to live my life and feels envy, disappointment, or whatever, then that is their problem. I don't own a single penny of it.
What are things I do to feel good each day?
I eat a super clean diet. I do what I can to have a healthy day today and feel at my best. I fuel my body with foods that will make it run better for the day. I don't need to waste a day of my life feeling hungover. I don't need to give myself a sugar high and then a crash. I just want to feel as good as I can each day I have. People have their opinions about it and I don't give a sh*t. It's MY life and MY day. I want to feel as good as I can because tomorrow is not a gaurentee.
I exercise regularly because blood moving through my body and my heartbeat going up makes me feel better. It gives me more energy during the day. It keeps my spine and core stronger so I have less disc injuries which had been a real issue for years. Constantly pinching nerves and being in physical therapy 3 days a week ,every single week, working on strength so each day the activities I do with my family come more easily to my body and are less likely to cause injury. I am doing what I can to make each day the best it can be.
Do I have it all figured out?? Hell no. I just know I have it more figured out then I did before.