Something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint it. I felt queasy and uneasy for days. It showed itself in a rash, then massive headache, and by the third dosage I found myself hot, cold, nauseous to a point I’ve never felt before and fallen to the floor gasping for air.
Later I’d find out I went into anaphylaxis, but fortunately, I was at work where there were people to help call the nurse, and quickly thereafter the ambulance to take me to the emergency room. This happened at the end of September. Wheeled through a school on a stretcher, wondering what was next. The only thought I had while on the floor was, “This isn’t where it’s going to end for me. Not in a library, not now.” I love libraries, but I have no desire to end my life story in one.
I’d love to go into more detail about what lead up to that day, what happened moment by moment which I’ve gone over too many times in my mind, but writing even this has taken me many drafts. For almost a month now I’ve been unsure of how to share or if I even wanted to share this event in my life. What I do know is that that was the closest I’ve ever come to near death. I’ve never had trouble breathing like that in my life, never had that deep guttural pain in my stomach, and no control over my body; it was terrifying.
In the end, I discovered one more allergy to add to my list and it has spurred me to get more information on how my body may react to foods, medicines, and the like. It has shifted my perspective, challenged my beliefs, and has been something I haven’t been able to get out of the back of my mind.
I don’t really want to talk about it here, but I have talked extensively about it with my husband. I am still processing, which at times is confusing, unnerving, but also inspiring and motivating. I’d love to joke about all those early retirees who don’t work and how lucky I was that day to show up to work (I almost stayed home, but decided to try to tough it out). How work was what pretty much saved me that day, as if I were alone at home, I’m not sure I would’ve called for help instead of just laid down to rest.
Things happen for a reason. A wake-up call if you will. I’ve changed my reactions to smaller things in life, tried to embrace where I am with our work, our goals, and our stage in life. This experience is why it’s been hard to write here, and I’ve just been letting my podcast episodes hit the air on their regular schedule.
I don’t know what’s next, but I do know I need to be a better advocate for myself, my health, and for what we want to accomplish or reach toward in our lives as a family, as a team, Chris and I, and for all the things I want to do before my days end. It won’t be anytime soon, I can assure you, but one day does have the power to change many that come after it.
I’m thankful for those who helped me. I’m thankful to still be here today writing. I’m thankful I have more time with my family, my children, and the world around me. I’m thankful I did show up to work, despite the feelings of doom for two days (one sign of anaphylaxis to come). I’m thankful to have work I enjoy. I’m thankful to have learned so much about my body, my soul, and my strength. And most of all, I’m thankful to still be breathing, growing, learning, and experiencing what life has to throw my way.
And everyone knows I’ll be extra thankful when we pay our mortgage off.