Thriving.

She dropped everything and agreed without even taking a second to think about it. “Of course I’ll go with you” she said when I asked her to join me on the 5 hour road trip to my annual neurology appointment at the Cleveland Clinic.

We’ve only known each other for a year and a half but she was willing to move everything around in her life to be able to show up for the most important thing in my life.

She didn’t know me six years ago before my life got thrown upside down.

She didn’t know me five and a half years ago when my life got thrown upside down.

She didn’t know me five years ago when I had to learn how to put my life back together again.

And she still dropped everything when I asked her to go with me.

But it didn’t come as a surprise because that’s who Jane is. She’s the most loyal friend I’ve ever had in my life. I can count on her for anything- even driving with me (actually most of the way, she did a majority of the driving) to see the man that continues to change my life. And Jane never complained, but Jane never complains about any of my shenanigans, she supports me. She continued to show up through my good and my bad.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while then you know that every year (used to be 2x a year) I make the journey to the Cleveland Clinic for my annual Neurology appointment. You also know that these appointments are the most stressful things that exist in all of my life’s stressful things. I love seeing my Neurologist, but I dread the many potential things that could lead to so many different potential things. It is a trip that fills me with anxiety. My mom had accompanied me to these appointments for the past five years, however with her new job she recently started she was unable to make it. This is when my Jane stepped in.

We made the most out of the 24 hour round trip. Eating our weight in snacks, getting lost like we always do, pretending to be functional adults in a city we are strangers to, eating our weight in Cajun seafood, and then again with ice cream. We even did something monumental and I got the tattoo I had been daydreaming about for years now (more on that later).

And then we woke up, put our big girl panties on, and we headed off to the appointment. We only missed one turn on the way to the hospital, and we soldiered on as if we were pros. In a weird, but oddly comforting way that’s really all there is to say about the appointment. There was no big life changing news. My body is in the best shape it has been since my accident, but it is still not healed. There was no conversation about the future, because I’m not at that point yet. But there also was no conversation about regression in my healing, because that hasn’t happened either. I’m doing great how I am, my body is maintaining “perfect” orthostatics (Dr. M’s words) but we know that is mainly attributed to the medications. And so we won’t change anything. We will keep on keeping on. And that was it.

We parted with a hug and the instructions to make the journey again in a year.

I caught Dr. M a couple times as he examined my physical abilities mention to Jane that what I was doing, walking heel to heel, was nearly impossible for me to do when he first took me in as a patient. Or how when I reported I hadn’t fainted once since he last saw me, mention to her that it was incredible news, as he shook his head telling her how bad of shape I was in back then.

I cringed on the inside as we sat there in his small exam room listening to him recount my past. A majority of it is just a blur to me now. I remember bits and pieces, but for the most part I’ve forced myself to forget the details- they’re too painful.

This trip was the first trip I’ve made to Cleveland in which I haven’t been a wreck. I didn’t stay up all night analyzing all the different potential outcomes. I didn’t cry, I didn’t have an overwhelming life moment, I didn’t worry.

This trip was the first trip I’ve made to Cleveland in which I felt positive about my body’s health. POTS is not who I am anymore, or no longer defines me, it’s just there, it’s on the side. I have merged into the healing stages, my body isn’t fighting anymore to survive, it’s healing. The healing could take a few more years, maybe more, but you know, I’m okay with that.

I’m not merely surviving anymore, I’m thriving.

I have wonderful people in my life, people that will drop anything to support me. I have two great jobs that continue to provide me with learning opportunities, and ways to test my abilities and skills. And as of yesterday I have a seat in the Paramedic program for next fall, the hurdle I’ve been striving towards the last two years. And I have a body that is healing. This friends is far more than merely surviving.

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