In 2019 I nearly went blind from severe swelling to my optic nerve from my papilledemas. In addition to the paps, I had this rare neurological condition called Idiopathic intracranial hypertension. To this day I still see several neurologists for it to make sure everything is all gravy. The cause is unknown and from what I’ve been told it could have been any of the things I had going on at the time: stress, weight gain, hormone imbalances, iron deficiency or medication. In my case I had all of the above.
While things started to look up, and I was in the clear for no longer having to fret about vision loss or anymore blackouts, I was caught off guard by the pandemic. Especially when it hit me.
When I recovered from it, I ended up with reactivated mono, strep and tonsillitis (gross, I know). The mono actually left damage to my esophagus, as we learned in my endoscopy and biopsy last fall. But still, I was like, it could always be worse and at least I bounced back.
Fast forward to the end of last year and I found out that while I was iron deficient and anemic again. I got on the high dose ferrous sulfate, I normalized, and was in danger of toxicity from too much. I knew I needed a hematologist and my neuro suggested the same. I ended up seeing one and she’s amazing. She tested me for so many things.
And while the appointment was nerve wrecking, I still was in good spirits because I knew things could have been worse. I mean I was sitting by people who knowingly were on borrowed time.
Truthfully, that was kind of sobering.
When I talked to one of the patients in the waiting area, I actually cried. Because do you know how many people live with regret?
So many of us are scared.
Scared to leave relationships that get comfortable. Scared to leave shit jobs that don’t appreciate us. Scared to speak up. And the list goes on.
I knew then and there I didn’t want to be a people pleaser or follow the traditional path. I wanted to break out more. And while I have always been a wild card and free spirit, I knew I pushed that nature down. A bit. And while I don’t make goals or resolutions, I told myself. This was my year to step out and do more. Not be afraid to live.
The appointment ended and when my results were finalized, it was discovered I had a rare blood disorder called thalassemia. As scary as that was, I still knew…I needed to grab life by the balls because nothing would be promised.
Talking to patients in that oncology waiting room showed me that.
I say all of this to repeat what I said above: nothing is a guarantee. There are zero do-overs in life. We aren’t getting any younger. Don’t be a victim. Feel your feels and acknowledge that bad things happen, but don’t let it define you.
Don’t live in fear.