I haven't talked about it much, but I've had some health challenges this summer. It hasn't been easy, but I wanted to give you an update to let you know why I haven't been around much. But, more importantly, I wanted to share what I've learned in the process.
Because every challenge in life will make you stronger if you learn something from it. (click to tweet)
My Health Journey So Far
My First ER Visit
In April, I was in the ER with severe abdominal pain. I had no clue what it was at first (and, turns out, the doctors didn't either, so I figured it out). I went on an anti-inflammatory diet immediately, and I hoped it was just a one-time thing.
Best laid plans…
ER Visit #2
Toward the end of May, I ended up in the ER again, this time with a kidney stone! I was out of commission for about a week. No fun.
Following those two ER visits, my health continued to decline. It was like my body went into overdrive, attacking itself. Actually, it was EXACTLY that. Weird symptom after weird symptom presented, and it seemed I had less and less energy and more and more pain every day.
I wasn't sure what to do. The way my health was declining seemingly without cause led me to believe I needed to make some pretty drastic life changes — and soon.
Then My Health Crashed
In July, I had the privilege of taking two whole weeks off of my day job. I was ready. I was going to tackle my writing and editing business, schedule out the rest of my year with gigs, and get my health back on track.
Remember the best-laid plans thing?
The first day I was off, I had no energy, a lot of muscle/joint pain, and brain fog. The pain was almost normal at this point, but the lack of energy kicked my butt. I felt terrible and couldn't accomplish anything. Great way to start off my staycation, right?
The next day was a little better, but then the following day was worse. A lot worse. I could barely function. (Did I mention that I have multiple areas of my body that give me pain? If it's not muscle pain, it's abdominal pain, or cramping, or headaches... and usually pain in one area of my body triggers pain in another area for the next day's enjoyment.) This was a different pain, but it knocked me out.
Then the next day.
Finally, Some Hope
I went to a holistic healer, kinesiologist, and chiropractor to see if I could get a little relief. She did some muscle testing and discovered at least one of my root causes, an underlying issue that could be causing my health challenges. She put me on a supplement for the week, and my husband and I were super hopeful that this would work.
But...the following week wasn't exactly better. Healing is a process, folks.
But Then, A Setback
I had no energy the entire week. My brain was cloudy, I only had about 12 waking hours of energy per day (and that was only if I sat the whole time), I couldn't walk more than about 1/2 a mile before having to turn around and go home, and once I tried to clean the bathroom sink and go to the grocery store on the same day. I know, crazy right? Bad idea.
I had no idea how I would have the energy to return to work.
I went back for my follow up appointment, told the healer how I was feeling, and she tested all kinds of supplements on my body. She told me my gall bladder and adrenals were operating at about 20% (I could've guessed the adrenals thing, but my gall bladder? Really?) and a few other organs weren't optimal, either. So she put me on a strict herbal regimen to *hopefully* clear up these issues.
That was Monday.
Tuesday was good. I felt a little better, felt like I had a little more energy. Wednesday, though...
I walked the long walk around our apartment complex. That was HUGE, people. And I wasn't thoroughly exhausted afterward. AND I hadn't even gotten a full night's sleep the night before! I had energy at 10pm. TEN PM. (I hope you can tell by the all caps how exciting that was.) I was working on things, actually getting excited and able to show it. Like jumping up and down (minimally, no need to set things back now...) excited.
So I'm hopeful. I'm still on the mend and taking it easy so I don't get a huge setback, but I'm so grateful I found that chiropractor when I did. I'm grateful I went at the beginning of my two weeks off work so my body had time to adjust. And I'm grateful I now have more energy to work on the things I want and need to, the things I love.
What I Learned from My Health Challenges
I learned that there are only three priorities in life that really matter. Three priorities that, if they are in line, will help everything else fall into place. (Yes, I really believe that.)
Here they are:
First, if you don't have your health, you don't have anything. No matter what else is going on in your life, if you don't have the strength or energy to do the things you want to do, you have nothing. Health must be your priority, no exceptions. (And I'm not just talking physical health, either. Mental health is something I'm working on, too.)
Second, telling stories and helping others tell theirs — what I was put on this earth to do — is also a top priority. Through deep introspection, I asked myself: What was I waiting for? If you ask yourself this question and promise to answer it honestly, you'll find out that the answer is obvious. I was waiting for NOTHING.
Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.
Third, that family (sometimes that means the family you choose) and relationships are also priority. My husband has been amazing through this whole process. He's encouraged me when I felt sorry for myself, picked up the slack when washing even a single dish was too much for me, and never gave up hope.
Summing It Up
Your health, your purpose, and your relationships must be Number One Priorities. They are all equally important to a healthy, productive, fulfilling life. And, despite multiple health challenges — or any other challenges, for that matter — you can overcome.
You can't choose what happens to you. And you can't choose when it happens, either. But YOU CAN DECIDE how you react to it. What will you do? Will you give up? Believe me, there were times that I wanted to. Or will you fight for healing, for restoration, for strength, for answers, FOR YOUR LIFE?
The choice is yours.
Question for you: How will you prioritize your health, purpose, or relationships today? Let me know in the comments!