"It is health that is real wealth & not pieces of gold & silver."
(Read the post before you watch this so you'll have a better understanding)
Okay, so I must admit, I have a "theme song" for myself. It wasn't actually written for me or anything but it's just a very beautiful, very pretty song. I don't feel sorry for myself but I do realize that I have been through more than most 29 year olds... hell, most 80 year olds, EVER will in their lifetime. There are times I do get angry & upset & of course, from time to time, I can't help but thinking to myself, "Why me?". But, then again, I realize, "Why not me?". My doctors believe I contracted it at a keg party that was held a couple of days before I went into the hospital. There were at least 50 people at this party, probably more, so I'm sure most people can understand why from time to time I can't help but think, "Out of everyone at that damn party, why was I the "lucky" one?". I just thank God that after I got infected, I didn't pass it on to my best friend or one of my parents b/c I didn't yet know I was sick. Okay, I'm rambling. Like I said above, I've basically been through way too much for a person who's not even 30! I've had well over 30 surgeries, I had both legs amputated AND I lost parts of every finger on my right hand which just happened to be my dominant hand for the 19 years leading up to me getting sick. I take more pills than my 80 year old grandmother does, I have horrible arthritis, headaches are a daily occurrence, I have insomnia, I suffered from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder... a lot of soldiers suffer from it after returning from war), I deal w/ depression, I've been in a coma, I've had TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), I've had my left hip replaced (the arthritis in that joint completely destroyed it), I've had multiple skin grafts, OH, & I went into cardiac arrest & my heart didn't start beating again until 52 minutes later! Sounds fun, right? Aside from all of my physical medical issues, I lost one of my dearest friends to diabetes in 2005 which pushed my already existing anxiety issues over the edge & landed me in a psychiatric hospital for a week. (which is where I was diagnosed w/ PTSD) I allowed myself to suffer through a verbally abusive relationship for 2 years (I'll do a separate post on that issue 1 day). The step sibling I was closest to while growing up was almost killed in a car accident about 4 years after I got sick. Luckily, he survived but he ended up suffering some pretty bad brain trauma. One of my biggest "fans" & one of the women I admire most, my Nana, died about a year after my brother's wreck. We also lost my stepdad's sweet mother (aka Grandma Farmer). It's literally just been one thing after the other since I got sick in June of 2001. For a while, I was not given a break. People need time to grieve & to take in everything that has happened & when life just keeps throwing things at you, you can't stop & do all of that. Since the start of 2009 things have finally been slowing down some. The hip replacement/cardiac arrest event took place in December of 2008 so things started slowing down at the perfect time! The only problem was I had about 7 years worth of traumatic events that I had to start grieving over. I had some pretty dark, lonely days for the 1st year... I had A LOT of grieving to do!! A LOT!! I didn't really start to come out of the grieving phase until like May of 2010 so for almost 1 1/2 years, I sat around, depressed! Lots of crying & lots of talking to God took place during this time. I also did a bit of journaling. Oh, & WAY TOO MUCH eating. I put on a good 15-20 lbs.! I don't really eat that much but during that year & a half of grieving, I literally did nothing! I sat on my butt! Or slept. Doesn't really matter how little you eat, if you don't move around some, you're going to put on weight. Then you end up w/ something else to be depressed over! I was offered the job I have now w/ the pharmaceutical company (Novartis) in March of 2010 & I did my first job in May of 2010. That's when the fog of depression started to gradually lift. Apparently, sitting around on your ass for weeks at a time is NOT the way to get out of a dark time. Traveling is however a good way to help yourself. Isolating yourself from everyone is NOT a good way to cure depression either! And by the way, interacting w/ people on FB all day does not count as far as socializing. You need to get in a little face time here & there. I really feel that doing this job has helped turn me around. Aside from getting to travel all over the country, I'm helping save lives! The feeling you get knowing you're preventing other kids from going from perfectly healthy to physically or mentally disabled is one that can't really be put into words. Plus, I know that I'm helping to prevent other families/friends from suffering through what mine have. It's just an amazing feeling. Always good to earn some Karma points! I'm seem to have finally snapped out of my year & a half funk. I will be making my annual trip to Chicago to visit one of my favorite cousins in the Fall & I plan on going to California to visit Dad & the rest of the Gray clan. Oh, plus, next month I'm doing a job in New Hampshire & since my stepmom's brother & his family live there, I'm going to stay a few days extra w/ them. Although I do seem to have a "brighter" outlook these days, of course I still have days that are dark and even a bit scary. I have issues with pain every single day. My arthritis has gotten a bit worse. I've lost some weight & even though I'm only doing it like 2 or 3 days a week, I've started exercising again. I know that will help ease the arthritis some. I also am going to have to figure out some time to put aside to have a little "touch up" surgery on my right knee. I was THIS close to losing my right leg above the knee so it's kind of the "problem child" for me. The surgery will be outpatient & should only take about 3 weeks to heal from. But, the shape of my knee is going to change some so I will have to have a completely knew prosthetic made for this leg. I realize most people don't know too much about how prosthesis work so I'll just let you know that in order for the prosthetic to fit correctly, feel comfortable to walk on, & not cause any issues for your skin, the inside of it has to be custom fit for your leg. It can be a long process b/c sometimes you have to keep going back to have the socket (inside) adjusted some. Aside from that one surgery, no BIG stuff should happen that would affect my physical health! I'm planning on going to beauty school in Spring of 2012 to become licensed in asesthetics. It makes me excited to think that in a little over a year, I could be working at my dream job! SO, finally, getting back to my theme song! It's, "This Woman's Work". I know many people know it for the Maxwell version BUT it's not his song. It was written & first recorded by Kate Nash. It was written for the movie, She's Having a Baby, w/ Kevin Bacon. Very pretty & very haunting song! I like Maxwell's version but I LOVE Kate's version. You can feel pure, raw pain in her voice when she sings it. Although the song is supposed to be from a man's point of view, it's not too hard to understand why I relate it to my life. You have to understand that all of the memories of my life are either "pre Meningococcal" or "post Meningococcal aka NOW". There are many things about my "pre" life that I miss every single day & of course, there are people from both the "pre" & "post" periods that I grieve for every day! She sings about how too much time was wasted & too many things weren't said & done while the opportunity was there. I took my health completely for granted, as many people do. There were things I could've done before getting sick that I can no longer do. And even w/ the deaths of family members & friends, most of the time there are things that you didn't tell the person that you wish had before the person died. As I said at the beginning of this post, I don't feel sorry for myself. I'm just well aware that in order for me to live a "normal" life, it takes a bit more patience & a bit more work! If you've never heard the song, take a listen. I realize most men probably don't care for this type of music but if you have a wife, daughter, or a close relationship w/ your mother, you should be able to appreciate the lyrics. Whether men want to admit it or not, it's take a lot more work to be a woman! We have to find just the right balance of strength & femininity, we wear all the uncomfortable clothes, shoes, & undergarments, we have to put on makeup, we spend more $ on keeping up appearances & hygiene, we get to put up w/ the joys of having a period every month, we have to go through menopause & of course, we give birth!! I wish for just one week, every single man on the planet could live life as a woman! (Well, not gay men b/c many of them can appreciate some of the things women go through a bit more than straight men can.)
I am a VERY lucky survivor of meningococcal disease. I contracted it in June of 2001. I was in a coma for 6 weeks & for the 1st week, my Dr.s weren't expecting me to survive. If you haven't been vaccinated for it, DO IT! You have no clue how fast meningococcal disease can destroy your body & your life! Within 48 hours of contracting it, I was in a coma on full life support! I have been in & out of hospitals ever since. I've had at least 30 surgeries due to complications from the disease.