Being severely sick no matter what the disease or disability is, can be life-altering. It can stir up anger, rage, hatred, un-forgiveness, and fear or it can teach us to love, trust, pray harder, grow in humility and release all that we cannot fix to the master fixer of all things broken.
This last decade and a half have been pretty intense especially for me. I got sick while working in a building with toxic mold and other contaminants for many years. During the years I worked in that building our kids we’re little. Our family grew as we welcomed a new baby boy. LIfe had many joys but I could barely function when I got home each day. Since the beginning of my toxic mold journey, life has NEVER been the same.
My immune, nervous, respiratory and endocrine system were attacked most aggressively and slowly I began to experience severe chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, muscle swelling, migraines, psoriasis, facial pain, swelling in my gums, extreme loss of memory, cardiovascular issues and respiratory distress. I remember crying on most days and while trying to keep up with my full-time job, a family, and with all of my responsibilities showing a big smile and putting my best foot forward.
I tried my best to give my best and to live my motto “live your life as a gift and then give that gift away every day”.
My faith in God kept me going, my prayers for relief kept me hopeful, my family gave me a reason to not give up.
When you are so sick that you can’t even push yourself to get out of bed to cook dinner for your family its beyond devastating.
When a walk outside is impossible because you’re so chemically sensitive, dizzy and weak that you convince your kids to play inside while mommy lies down……yeah those moments broke my heart.
Life it seems was sucking the life out of me and although I kept marching, holding my baton high and claiming victory over our many perils, I felt weak and discouraged. But I hid my pain. Oh did I hide my pain. I couldn’t speak to anyone about what I was feeling. No one human person seemed to understand, so I would ball my eyes out talking to my father in heaven. “Mold is making you sick, come on.” A phrase I heard one too many times from those around me.
Here is an excerpt from my diary on a day I was feeling really overwhelmed and sick due to exposure in my office:
“Another day where sickness haunts me, it whispers in my ear and taunts me. So much going on, burning in my chest, nausea, dizziness, pain in my neck, stomach upset.
My heart speeds up then down again, its difficult to speak, feeling like the air has been extracted from my lungs. Holding on to a prayer that brighter days will come, will they?
Feeling weak and tired, unable to keep up with this masquerade.
Hoping for rain, for cleansing waters to come. Wash away the madness, restore my peace.”
I share these feelings and thoughts with the hope that if you are reading this and find yourself experiencing similar situations, you can find hope and know that you are not alone.
“You have to stay strong” I often reminded myself. “You have a family that needs you and people who rely on you and need your help. You must stay strong.”
But in reality, I wanted to ball up into my father’s arms and cry. My dear earthly father was granted an early promotion to heaven after medical malpractice claimed his life. During these difficult times, I could not help but remember how amazing he was and how his help in our home was like no other.
I’m wiping my tears now as I type. I miss him so much but I am no longer bitter about his loss. I remember him with fondness and when I can’t do something or feel like I am facing an unmeasurable mountain I repeat what he always said to me as a child:
“No hay ninguna circunstancia que no tenga remedio. Lo único que no podemos remediar es la muerte pero todo lo demás es posible.”
In English, this reads: “There is no circumstance that does not have a remedy. The only thing we cannot remedy is death, but everything else is possible.”
If I am able to deal with all the curve-balls life has tossed us it is in part because of my father’s deep impression on my heart and my mother’s strong work ethic. My father lived a life of humility and for others. He was last so others could be first.
I believe that God instilled those beautiful things in him so he could teach us the true value of life. And for that, I am forever grateful.
My mother always worked very hard in and out of season. She provided for us when my dad was unemployed and taught me responsibility. For both of their examples, I am grateful.
Most days people see me holding my baton high while doing cartwheels and feeling nothing like my favorite superhero Wonder Woman. Don’t laugh. Seriously I really like Wonder Woman. I even have my personal checks displaying her awesomeness.
The child in me will never die. With a life as hectic as mine is, it is the small things that make me smile and keep me grounded to reality. I often ponder that if I become overly mature and leave behind the silliness of childhood I will have created a funeral for my soul.
Along with my faith in God and in his word, the bible, laughter is another element that has served me much. The bible is true when it says in Proverbs that “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
When you’re going through a tough time, always make time for laughter, for the small moments that decorate your soul with beauty.
My journey has not been easy but I have learned so much. Things I can now share with those around me. I have always believed that when we endure trials and suffering there is gold embedded in each crevice filled with tears. We can choose to partake of that gold with others or ignore it. I have learned to see this as suffering with a purpose.
So today on Mothers Day although I am stuck at home and feeling quite blue I wanted to encourage you to keep pushing forward. No matter what the obstacle or how many times you fall flat on your face.
Remember who you are.
Remember your children and or family and how much they mean to you.
Remember to reach down often and pick up some of the gold that is left behind once your tears have dried.
Remember to share that gold with others.
Remember that you are not alone.
Remember that God loves you.
Chemical Free Gal – May 2017