Up until this year, I truly feel like I’ve had a pretty easy and ‘uneventful’ life. Of course I have had my fair share of ups and downs, but never had to deal with anything extremely life changing. When people I hadn’t seen or talked to in a long time used to ask me how things were, how life was treating me, what was new, etc. I often said “Things are great. Nothing new to report. Same old stuff. It’s kind of like Groundhog Day, everyday around here.”
Oh what I wouldn’t give to have my old, boring, and uneventful life back…
These days, I now wake up having NO idea what my day will be like. As soon as my eyes open in the morning and before I step out of bed, I’m already assessing how my body feels. I used to jump right out of bed ready to tackle the day, but now I literally have to take a few minutes after my alarm goes off just to see how much energy I will need to get going. I’ve accepted the fact that something is going to hurt, but I never which part/s of my body and/or how bad it will be. Nor do I know how things will progress as the day progresses.
Even on on my best days now when back pain is minimal while I’m laying down, it’s a completely different story as soon as I get upright. Almost instantaneously as my feet hit the ground and I stand up, this week the change in CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) pressure goes straight to my head and the headache begins to set in. Usually in the morning, it’s fairly mild though and tolerable. By the afternoon, full blown migraines have started to set in and the whole other range of pain & symptoms have gone full circle at least a few times already. There are very very few times in the day I am without symptoms and not a day has gone by in the past 3 months where something doesn’t hurt. This week the migraines seem to overpower everything else though.
However, despite the chronic pain I’m now faced with, the struggling to maintain as much “normal” as we can for the kids, and dealing with the reality of my husband having to take on so much of the ‘day to day’ now, there isn’t an hour that goes by where I don’t feel overwhelming thankful. So thankful that I have cried almost as many happy tears as painful & sad tears. I know it sounds totally ridiculous, but as a result of everything the family and I have been going through, I’m constantly reminded of how many amazing blessings I have in my life. Maintaining a positive outlook 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through all of this isn’t entirely realistic, but I do try my hardest to always find the good in every situation and try to stay as full of hope as I possibly can. Luckily, I seem to be reminded of just how BLESSED I am regularly!!!
After deciding to share my ‘diagnosis‘ and documenting this new chapter of my life, I have had so many beautiful moments of thankfulness. It almost seemed as though every time I began to get overwhelmed with my new “life” and negativity began to creep into my thoughts, rays of sunshine smacked me right in the face to snap me out of it. I have felt SO overwhelmingly loved, cared for, and supported over the past month. Just thinking about the outpouring of emails, text messages, cards, visits, kind words of encouragement being shared on my Instagram, and even these extra special deliveries from friends and family makes my heart smile.
In addition to my gorgeous flowers that first arrived, one thing that I have been extremely nervous about was my relationship with the companies I am currently affiliated with for food photography and recipe development. Now that I can no longer do my regular newborn photography and graphic design work, our family will definitely need all of the extra income we can get for medical expenses. I feared that the companies would think I would no longer be able to perform my assignments and make my deadlines and let me ‘go’. Thankfully though, that has not been the case and many of the companies I work with have been extremely concerned and supportive!!!
The Dough Bar went ABOVE & BEYOND anything I could have ever imagined within a few days of sharing my news. As it turns out, they actually have ties to a neurosurgery department. Not only did Marquez and Ondrea personally call me to chat about my condition, they spoke with actual doctors as well AND got me phone numbers/info that I needed. I’m not sure how many times I said thank you to them, but I need them to know how grateful I truly am. It’s not often you come across a company whose driving force isn’t solely monetarily driven. This is a company who TRULY cares about people, their relationships with them, and always trying to do good in the world. I have so much respect for them as people and as business owners.
Of course, Marques and Ondrea also sent me a special delivery of my favorite DOUGHnuts… yes, they know exactly what can brighten my day!!! FOOD!!!
Another company who I feel TRULY and UTTERLY blessed to be a part of is MuscleEgg.
Before the company knew about my condition, I received an email from their athlete & event coordinator asking me if I wanted to join the team at the LA FitExpo early next year. After working the Anaheim Expo a few months ago, I had been itching to work another event! I LOVED the experience so so much! As soon as I read the email, I was thrilled of course, BUT also absolutely devastated. At that point, there was NO way I could stand or function for an entire 8 hour period on my feet. I honestly have NO idea what my health will be like next week, let alone 3 months from now. I responded back saying as much as I would love to be a part of the event, it wouldn’t be fair ask if I could let them know a couple of months down the road. I knew they needed to have their athletes lined up and committed. I reluctantly had to decline.
When the company got back to me though, I was absolutely SHOCKED. After well wishes, kind words, and offers to help in any way possible, I was informed that my spot for the LA FitExpo would not only be ‘saved’, but an extra room would be booked for my lodging AND I could let them know at a later time. Being affiliated with MuscleEgg has been one of the biggest blessings of my entire ‘fit life” journey. Such an amazing company and group of people. Truly truly thankful for the opportunities they have given me! Again, a company with integrity that cares for its ‘people’.
Shortly after my email exchanges with MuscleEgg, I had an extremely rough couple of days. Easily the worst pain I have had thus far. I felt defeated. I was sad. I was mad. I felt isolated (even with all the love and support around me). And the positivity was almost completely drained out of me. Just as I was about to raise the white flag though, another special delivery was left at my doorstep.
These arrived from I’m Pretty Fit team…
It honestly could not have come at a better time. Just like that after reading the note, I felt energized, hopeful, and ready to tackle my condition again HEAD ON!!! Faith in myself was restored. I was instantly reminded without a doubt in my mind that somehow, someway I WILL get through all of the hard times simply because of support and care around me. The people I am surrounded with won’t let me stay down and out for very long. I know I can always count on someone to help put back the pieces when I fall apart. Simple text messages from friends & family or comments on my blog/social media truly have brought so much joy to my days. Anytime I’m on the verge of breaking down and losing my shit, all it takes is reading a few messages and I’m good to go again. Between that and my amazing family… I GOT THIS!!!
These cards also arrived just yesterday…
Receiving letters from my husbands work was probably the last thing I expected, but the sentiment and thought were beyond thoughtful. San Diego Police Department isn’t exactly a small organization, so sometimes it can be a little difficult to feel a true sense of family. These handwritten notes from the Assistant Chiefs of SDPD meant a lot to my husband and I. Also, his direct command and SWAT have also been amazing during this time in our lives’. Most nights my husband works I’m able to be alone with our daughter and get her into bed for the night, but there have already been a few occasions where we knew I couldn’t possibly take care of her (and myself) properly. My husband needed to be home with us. It’s not something we ever plan on happening of course, but it’s comforting to know that he has their support if he can’t come in for a shift to take care of his family.
I don’t think I can ever find the right words to express my gratitude for the outpouring of love we have gotten. Thankful beyond measure… and more blessings to share!!!