The days tick by like a lonely clock on a waiting room wall. Every day is the same routine; care for my son, care for myself. But the big ELEPHANT that has appeared in the room over the past two years is..who am I? No longer am I the girl that had big dreams and took challenges on head first. Who would jump into a car for an adventure at a moments notice. No, that girl is long gone. That girl was taken from me by this illness. An illness that is invisible to the naked eye, but completely and utterly has rattled me to my core. It has smashed dreams and desires. It has cancelled trips and plans. It has left me in a hugh undone mess.
I turn 40 in just a few short months, and the thoughts that continue to play over and over again in my head are….”THIS is not where I was SUPPOSED to be at this point in my life”. You see, I had big plans… College, Grad School, Marriage, More Grad School, Family and Career. NONE of these plans included a life changing illness that has left me nothing more than a shell of the person I once was. Every now and I again, I get a glimpse of her, but I have to admit, I am PETRIFIED that she is forever gone.
But how do I move forward from this? How do I find the “NEW” version of me. Where do I even begin? I’ve spent HOURS rolling these words around in my head—trying to define who I am now. I am NOT my illness, but what do I like, what will my career look like; or even worse, will I ever be able to go back to work?!
This illness has caused me to take a momentary pause in my life–to stop, reflect and change course. I will find this “new” version of myself. It may take some time, but my firery spirit will not keep me from searching for my new passion. The thing that makes me excited to get up each day. I will rise from these ashes…it may take longer than my TYPE A personality would like..but I WILL rise above all of this.
I have found myself feeling more and more drawn to advocacy for chronic illness and for parents and families whom are struggling with chronic illness themselves. These two things are very near to my heart, as I myself am a mom who struggles on a daily basis to care for my child and myself. So perhaps THAT is my new passion.
That’s the thing about passions, desires and dreams–they have the ability to be changed. You do not have to stick to what you wrote down in your diary when you were thirteen years old. So I am setting a new goal for myself..over the next 6-9 months, I will pursue this passion of advocacy–in whatever form or fashion that may manifest–and see if THIS is what I was made for. I have always said, there is a purpose for all this pain–for suffering through 8 years of infertility, for managing chronic migraine for the last 6 years and through it all fighting like hell for my marriage. You see, the “in sickness and in health” part of your wedding vows; were taken VERY seriously by both my spouse and myself–we just never in a MILLION years dreamed it would happen so early on in our marriage. I am forever grateful that I have a man in my life that didn’t just give up and walk away when things got hard—that he has fought tooth and nail to take care of me and my son.
I am not sure what tomorrow will bring, but we are told to not worry about tomorrow, for it has troubles of its own. So for today I will, inhale deeply; focus on the special time I am being able to spend with my son and trusting (and hoping) that the next season of my life will include me rising from the ashes of my former life.