Retrouvailles (French): The happiness of meeting again after a long time.”
For weeks now I’ve written and rewritten this first post. I’ve struggled with how to begin again after so much has changed. I started this blog almost 2 1/2 years ago in another place, mentally. At times I’ve felt like that girl never even existed. So much is different. My health, my life, my home. Even my last name. I’ve struggled to find my voice again. It was like there was so much to say, but I didn’t quite know how to say it.
When I got sick 7 months ago, I never would have guessed that it would snowball so quickly, culminating in numerous tests and, ultimately, a hospital stay. Even when in the hospital I had such high hopes for a recovery. In my mind I was convinced that someone, anyone, would look at me and know what was wrong with me. Why my body was betraying me. Why I couldn’t walk, or even turn my neck. Why I was suffering from headaches that threatened to break me. How could I have known that many months later I would still be living with the repercussions of a strange, unknown illness and coming to terms that this may very well be my new (permanent) reality.
When I left the third, and final, hospital, they told me my prognosis was good. I was due for a “full, quick recovery.” It never came. The paralysis stopped, but the other symptoms stayed, and got worse.
At the beginning of it all, in the rush of blood work and CTs and MRIs and spinal taps, I found it surprisingly easy to keep my joy. I was unshaken in my faith that all would be well. Even when I left the hospital in a wheelchair and without a real diagnosis, I was hopeful. Grateful. Grateful that the paralysis would end, grateful it wasn’t cancer, grateful for the most amazing support system and prayer warriors anyone would ask for. I still am.
It’s a little harder now, though. Sometimes frustration creeps through, threatening to destroy the acceptance I’ve come to find in all of this. Frustration that even the simplest of things, like walking up a flight of stairs, has become a struggle. Frustration that this body feels so foreign to me sometimes. Frustration that, after all this time, I still have no explanation for what is happening to me.
All feelings aside, I know I’m fortunate. It could have been tumors. The paralysis could have been permanent. Worse yet, it could have been terminal. Instead, I’m alive and, while it’s a struggle, I can walk. I’ve been surrounded by people who love me and people who fought for me when, at the beginning, a misguided doctor didn’t even believe I was sick. I have the pleasure of waking up every morning next to a man who loves me enough to want to spend the rest of his life with me. Who stood by me and supported me through all of it. I am the mommy of a little boy who brings untold joy to my heart.
It is these things that give me strength on the rare days where the anger tries to swallow me up. It is these people who inspire me to try again. It is my faith that God can still work all things for the good, no matter how broken I sometimes feel. It is in remembering these things, these people, this faith, that I find happiness. It is in finding this happiness that I have found my voice. I’ve begun to remember the feelings that drove me to start this blog in the first place. And as I write now, I feel like this is a homecoming of sorts. A remembering of my drive to share myself with whoever will listen in the hopes that I can touch even one person. A homecoming.