New kicks for a new week. Bring it on. Stronger muscles, stronger lungs, and a stronger mind. Living with chronic illness.. is tough but at least I’m living – really living. Feeling my heart pumping, my breath quickening, my muscles burning,.. I’m doing everything in my power to improve my health. I cannot preach the benefits of exercise enough. It really has the ability to transform your life.. physically, socially, emotionally.. don’t believe me? Give it a go!
I’m choosing to grow a garden full of blooms. Bright, beautiful, multicoloured, and ever growing. Hopes, dreams, goals, and desires, for a prosperous and fulfilling future. This sounds very ‘sunshine and rainbows’ but there is much truth in the quote. We can change our lives but the way we think and act. We may not always get to choose what life throws at us but we do get to choose who we respond.
Lately I have experienced the ‘knocked down’ part of this quote. I am sure everyone feels it at least once in their lifetime. I know that I have. I also know that I have gotten back up many times over. This time has been my hardest to get back up. It doesn’t mean that I had ever completely given up it just means that my usual coping strategies had become annulled. I am usually a very resilient person who springs back into the game of life as if I had special bouncy boots on my feet. I usually try to find the positive in every situation and find something to be grateful for.
And as the quote above does truthfully state sometimes you don’t really know or fully understand the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. I’m learning to find value in this very long, and rather painful moment. I have found that I am actually surrounded by the most beautiful, kind, and giving hearts imaginable.
Now I’m not quite sure that I have screwed up but I do know that my life has been especially challenging the last few weeks. But the amount of people who have come forth to tell me they care, to check in, to ask if I’m okay – has been overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like the universe is trying to realign itself and sort out these challenges by showing the person who is suffering that just because they are feeling as if the darkness is engulfing them that there is also a force of light trying to break through that person’s never ending night.
These people have literally been little candles. Giving me some spark to reignite my flame. It’s hard – usually I’m the one trying to cheer others up and help get people back on their feet. It’s hard to admit that I am the vulnerable one right now. I have a weakness too. I never thought I was bullet proof but I also never thought I’d be so full of bullet holes and unsure of which to patch up first. But then again without these wounds.. I’d never know how strong my will to survive was either. It might take time to restitch each bullet wound, but I know I won’t be alone completing this task.
And then the humbling part of this long drawn out post hits home. My struggles that appear so big in my mind are so insignificant compared to what others have gone through.
I know my courage is greater than my fear. I know that I must be strong. My story is nothing compared to those living through war, famine, natural disasters,.. I fear the unknown but I cannot imagine what those who have had their lives literally torn asunder are going through. I will own my story. I will choose what will happen in the next chapter and I will grow and learn from this chapter.
I will also never forget those who came forth to help me when I didn’t know how to help myself.
Today this is my motivation. Right now I’m in bed. I’m really not well. I’m exhausted and have been sleeping about 18 hours a day since Friday. I have no voice. My digestive system is cramping. But I want to be better. I need to get better. And then I saw these photos. It sounds silly that photos of your gym make you want to leap out of bed – but they do.
I hate being sick (I’m sure everyone else does too). My gym makes me feel alive, the connection I have with the people at Hybrid makes me want to go back day after day. I am a person living with chronic illness and I try hard not to let it beat me. This year I’ve made so much progress with my health. I will never be able to completely prevent becoming ill or having anaphylaxis but I have done a damn good job of reducing the risk of both. I have been working hard to ensure that my body can run as optimally as it possibly can.
This means that I have been meticulously eating only foods that are ‘safe’ for my body to digest. I had a lot of testing done to rule out any foods that may trigger an inflammatory response. I have also lost a lot of weight to help my body process the toxins in the environment that I cannot control. I take a lot of medication that assists my digestive system and liver, that strengthens my immune system, and keeps my airways strong. I’m exercising 5-6 times a week. My body is becoming stronger.
My mental health is also becoming stronger because of my exercise regime. Who would have thought that exercise can assist mental health? Well it does. Any stress I have during the day leaks out of me as I huff and puff at the gym. Kind of like the way sweat seeps out of the skin.. my stress also seeps out as I work out.
I sleep… I almost said better – but that would imply that I used to sleep. I’m an insomniac- hard to believe after reading that first paragraph! Physical activity helps me to sleep. On the nights I go to the gym I sleep deeply for about six hours. This to me is absolutely huge. It gives my body time to regenerate and gives my immune system a fighting chance. Without rest our bodies don’t heal.
Chronic illness is a lifelong battle. In the past there were times when I had thought I’d never feel well again – and it certainly seemed that way. I’ve had six months of feeling well. And I want so badly to be well again. And I will. It might not be tomorrow.. or the next day.. or next week.. or probably not next month. But I will get well again. And I know for sure that going to the gym will definitely be on my to do list as soon as I’m well enough to be out of the house.