I’d been experiencing vertigo, some numbness in my back and arm, and a few other weird symptoms for a few months and finally got scared enough to talk to my doc. He promptly found a heart murmur. He sent me in for an echocardiogram and brain MRI. The following day, he called to say the heart murmur was innocent but there were shadows on my brain and I needed to speak with a neurologist. He had no real information for me, and said the specialist would explain. He told me not to worry, or let it ruin my weekend.
I got on a plane mere hours later and went home to Chicago for a visit we’d scheduled weeks before. I told my parents this news in person. And we had a great time together all weekend, but were all constantly, subtly tense and terrified. We were thinking about lupus and brain tumors and MS and any number of unnamed, unknown things that could be going wrong in my brain, and alter my life forever.
I am 33 years old and have been healthy as a horse my entire life. I have been married 8 years and intended to grow old with my Mike. I graduated from college in 1998, but have only just found my calling and my life’s passion. I wept as I thought of life in illness, the loss of my future, an early grave. And I cursed myself for taking MY ENTIRE LIFE for granted and never being satisfied with my lot.
Since suspense makes me irate, I’ll tell you right now that I am just fine. I have inner-ear vertigo which will be treated with physical therapy, and my other symptoms are related to a protruding disc in my back. When the neurologist told me this, I gripped her leg and wept again with relief.
Does this sound a little melodramatic? Good. I have never been more frightened in my LIFE people, and the whole experience made me see my world in a completely different light. I have always known, intellectually, that wasting time and energy worrying about big hips or jiggly upper arms is idiotic. But now I know it on a much, much deeper level. I am alive. I am healthy. I can walk, talk, eat, sing, write, bike, work, cuddle, laugh, and grow old slowly. My body is sound, my mind is sound, and I am beyond lucky. I don’t have any flaws. I never did. I love this body, and I am going to do my damndest never to take it for granted again.
It can be so hard to keep perspective when thinness and youth are painted as life’s greatest prizes. But I see more clearly than ever that life is its own greatest prize. And I’m so incredibly grateful for mine, and for the body that makes it all possible.
I’ve been a bit absent lately from comments and such because of all this, but I’ll be returning to normalcy soon. I appreciate you marvelous folks sticking around in the meantime. And the sickness I was battling all weekend is totally unrelated, I swear. I’m the kind of person who can power through any personal stress … but once that stress lets up, my immune system flies a white flag and I come down with a bad cold. I’m on the mend now, thank goodness. Finally, unless something drastic changes, I am unlikely to bring this up again. For me, moving on means looking ahead. And that will mean posting regularly about style and body image and all the good stuff that this blog has always been about. Now with renewed fervor, as I have never loved my own body more.