This was originally written and posted on April 16, 2016.
Nearly summer in Nashville has always been one of my happy places. Last May it was exceptionally so. I knew I was about to get engaged to a man I adored. Adventure was in our sights, with a move together to Kansas coming closer each day, compelling us out each night with a “one last time at our favorite places” mentality.
We walked to Broadway from his downtown high-rise and drank sidecars ,stayed out late going up and down to honky tonks with rooftop bars and dancing with beers in our hands, marveling at our ability to talk for hours and never be bored with each other. After months of training, I was in the best cardio shape of my life and ready to run in a 5k with my soon to be fiance. Things never seemed better.
The night before the race, I started to feel sick. In a nearly indescribable way. The way you feel when you know you have the flu but it hasn’t taken full hold of you yet. My heart felt fluttery and too fast. I was hot but chilled.
In the morning I had to skip the race, and I was devastated. All my training gone to waste. Disappointment was going to become a big part of my life soon, but I had no idea that morning.
The next week I had such a severe reaction to an allergy shot I had to take steroids. My arm was swollen from my shoulder to my elbow.
The past few weeks of work I had been exhausted. Beyond exhausted. I fell asleep at my desk without realizing I had several times. And then one early June evening my chest hurt so badly from doing routine push-ups and was beating so fast I wound up in the emergency room.
The doctors could find nothing wrong. In fact, the emergency room doctor told me he could see no reason why I shouldn’t go run the 3 miles I was accustomed to after I left. I was short of breath and walking raised my heart rate to an uncomfortable and alarmingly high rate.
His advice seemed such a jarring juxtaposition to how I felt that I left the hospital baffled and more confused than when I got there. This feeling would also become all too familiar in the weeks and months ahead.
The weird symptoms and illness kept slowly advancing. Morgan and I moved to Kansas. He started work and I started school. In dim light I started not to be able to see. My anxiety increased. My hands started getting shaky. My feet would go numb at night. And on and on and on.
I got used to living as an Army wife. I started learning how to make truly new friends for the first time in my life. The Post Exchange excited me and I learned all I could about the Commissary. My eyes kept getting worse. My hands kept getting more shaky. My heart still felt weird. I started getting migraines.
The flu-like feeling was happening every day, along with a fever. I regretfully stopped going to class. Morgan kept working and started having to take care of me, too.
Today I have more symptoms than I care to list right now. I am sure I will in a later post. Life has changed dramatically from a year ago.
Writing about last May makes me woefully nostalgic. It also feels like that was barely my life at all. Drinks. Dinner. Dancing. Life in the big up and coming exciting center of the city. Anticipating new adventures with joy and hope.
Thankfully I am still able to hold onto the joy and hope most days. I just have to determinedly look for them, instead of them sitting right on my lap.
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”