Friday, January 17, 2014
Three Cheers for Three Years
Do you remember where you were on January 17, 2011?
I was in an ICU bed at an Oklahoma hospital, recently diagnosed with Addison's Disease, missing a gall-bladder, and weighing in at 98 pounds.
I was told that I wasn't the healthy 18-year old I thought I was. I wasn't the strong athlete I used to be. I wasn't the vivacious college student, full of promise and plans. I was a broken hospital patient, depressed and seemingly hopeless.
Coming to terms with a chronic illness is weird. I don't like to think that who I am is fueled by how I feel or how many pills I'm currently popping.
I hate the memory loss of most of my senior year and TCU semester. Friends will reminisce, "hey remember when?!" No. No, I don't.
And I really hate the unknown. The questions. The why me? How does this disease even exist? Why does it target who it does? No one knows. There aren't answers for those questions.
For someone who likes to know everything NOW, no answer is a hard one to accept.
I arrived in Scotland almost two weeks ago. So many exciting things to do and not as much sleep. The combination sought out my weakness and I started feeling "Addison's sick" after a few days. I obediently swallowed nausea pills and extra doses of cortisol, but I still had to sit a Saturday night out and I HATE that. If I had a normal body, one that didn't require such strict maintenance, I could have actively joined the fun. Instead, I spent the evening in my pajamas with Netflix, which wasn't all that bad of an alternative come to think of it. But the fact that I was hindered of doing something I wanted to do is frustrating. I know, in the grand scheme of things, it's one saturday night. Not worth trying to buck up for and then ending up in the ER, or the UK equivalent, because of its inevitable failure.
But because of my stubborn nature, I want to do what my disease tells me I cannot. I like to prove Addison's Disease wrong. And I do! Almost always.
Where am I on January 17, 2014? A lot can change in three years. I still have Addison's Disease, but I weigh significantly more and I've exchanged the hospital bed for a flat in Dundee, Scotland.
I want today to be special, a celebration of just how far I've come. So I'm setting out on my own to cross the Tay River Road Bridge. It's only about a mile and a half long, but on the other side lies the Kingdom of Fife. I want to be fully aware today, of all days, of how completely and totally alive A Very Lucky Girl is.