a vulnerable thursday health thought post... all about the after

January 11, 2024


caravan sonnet

Happy Thursday friends! Over the course of blogging this last decade (almost eleven years this month!! - I am still in shock- how is this possible??!) I have written thousands of health posts. Most of that came because of my journey through Lyme Disease and Cancer and other multiple health issues and were easy and helpful tips that I was learning that I wanted to pass on to others who might be in similar situations or who might be wanting practical tips with their health. 

Throughout the last decade I have explored so many practical health tips with food, helpful Lyme specific tips, traveling to doctors who are out of state and country, traveling with chronic illnesses, etc. 

And I am still extremely passionate about a lot of those issues and will continue to share- especially for those who are traveling with a chronic illness.

But life has also changed and over the last several years I have been working through many things that I have had to deal with simply because I was seriously ill for nearly a decade. 

It has been a lot of stuff. 

A lot of life. 

A lot of heartbreak. 

A lot of grief in many different aspects. 

A lot of hard. 

A lot of brokenness...and more tears than there was laughter....

lot of not seeing dreams fulfilled not just in the last 5 years but in the last decade. 

Dreams of a husband. 

Dreams of becoming a mama.

Dreams of a life that I had pictured with the family that I dearly love in tact...in full.. instead of missing two key players that were so important. 

Dreams shattered in work spaces, in creative space, in author spaces, in plans...

Dreams of so many sacred and personal things... 

so many different dreams that are deeply hidden in my heart that as the world has continued there was a constant "on hold" in the life of sickness that I walked and then in the season of deep painful grief.

Life after so much beauty from healing from Lyme, Cancer, and multiple illnesses was not what I had envisioned with the happy ending that I had written in my head as it would be, but was caught in a deep "sadness, a sense of unfairness, even jealousy toward those who have what I wanted. Life felt meaningless, and I battled feelings of failure, and if I am honest enough I harbored anger and disbelief toward the God who had denied my requests."*

Some of those things were expected... 

I expected the awkward stilted conversations when someone asked what my job had been before I started my current one and I had to share that I was extremely ill and had been working from home as a blogger. 

I expected a transition time of re-entry to "real life".

I expected that I would continue to eat well, take care of my body, and be grateful for my health. 

I expected that after so many years of treatment it would be a little bit before all of my energy returned.

I expected that gas and food prices would be more than I remembered.

My faith would be stronger than ever.

I expected to enjoy every moment of life...

I expected that it would be different than before...

But what I didn't expect was that while lying in bed for so many years fighting for my health and life that life would hold twists and turns on each of these things and other things...

What I didn't expect was... 

The sudden and unexpected loss of my precious father and best friend five days after the good news came that I was in remission and the best blood work I had ever had in a decade

The unexpected and long goodbye with my precious "Ba" less than 18 months after the loss of my daddy

Dealing with extreme grief after a long period of losing nearly a decade of my life to illness

My faith to look and feel different in the after

I expected the awkward conversations with guys on dates (obviously during an appropriate time period) regarding my health journey and while I have nothing to be ashamed of I didn't expect the judgment or the questions of "so your faith must not be that strong if you were sick for so long because the Lord would have healed you sooner". 

I expected when I was applying for jobs that I would receive questions regarding my health journey (within hippa guidelines) because I had made my journey so public here on the blog and social media... but didn't expect the insinuation by several potential employers that it "is always nice to take time away from life, but nine years... wow that must have been some vacation."

The comments of "shouldn't you be shouting your story from the rooftops since God healed you? Just think of all of the sick patients who would be using their time wisely if they were in your position"

The comments on social media when I vulnerably shared a post regarding some grief I was feeling and instead of the supportive response I had been used to for nearly a decade was met with tons of hurtful comments some stating that I was "whining for attention and that my story was not worth listening to and that I had nothing to offer"

Reorienting myself in a world that was not healthy (as the pandemic hit as I made a reentry into life... and let me tell you it is a very scary thing to be a very fragile sick girl in a healthy world but being an immune compromised person in a sick world was difficult to navigate)

Adjusting to a lot of new changes in life

Financial Issues 

Anxiety over different things (after not struggling with this ever in my life)

Having to learn how to do a lot of basic things that I had not learned to do life like all of my friends in because I had been sick.

Emotions that were complicated dealing with extreme thankfulness for health and yet feeling discontent with a few personal things in life

The reaction and comments that I must "never have been that sick" since I was now healed

The stilted conversations regarding personal things

The loss of several dreams 

and so much more. 

And to be honest... here on the blog and in social media I have never shared any of this in the last several years... this has been an intensely private and sacred journey in many ways with my closest circle...

But during last year I started to hear from people who had walked through their own health journeys and had similar questions and issues that I was experiencing. More than once someone would say "I feel guilty for sharing this because "x number of years ago" I would have done anything to be feeling this way and not be sick." And let me tell you that last statement has been said nearly a thousand times here by me. 

I related immensely and then started hearing from friends, physicians, counselors, strangers, audience members after I spoke, etc. that there was really no talk about the "after time period". 

Maybe it is because like me people felt guilty for talking about this? I mean we have the answered prayer that so many wanted in the overfilled waiting rooms of numerous places that no one would ever want to be.

Maybe it is because compared to suffocating and excruciating pain that I experienced 24 hours a day for years doesn't seem like it is "right" to compare to the broken dream?

Maybe it was... well a lot of things... but whatever it was and is I learned that I needed to really explore, walk through, and deal with the "after"...

And here is what I found... "spending ten years in the wilderness and not arriving at the promised land" the lesson that there is a greater tragedy in life... and that is that perhaps the greater tragedy than a broken dream is a life forever defined by it."*

So here on the blog I want to explore that... there are so many things to explore and so each Thursday I plan to share and write about this journey of the "after" a long and complicated illness. The good, the joys, the difficulties, the blessings, the struggles, the messy and the beautiful. 

I hope that it will be an encouragement. 

I hope it will help someone know that they are not alone. 

I hope it will remind you that God is tenderly leading the way even when we can't see in the dark. 

And most importantly I hope that it will remind you that even if the "after" looks radically different than the before... life can still be incredibly beautiful. 

"But there is a life after a dream has died. The God of the crucifixion is also the God of the resurrection. While a fairy tale cannot be promised (as there are precious few fairy tales outside Disney), the tragedy can make way for some joy. And while some scars will remain...healing and restoration can come."* //Sheridan Voysey//

"The people who survived the wars have found favor in the desert. The LORD appeared to me in a faraway place and said, “I love you with an everlasting love. So I will continue to show you my kindness. Once again I will build you up, and you will be rebuilt, my dear people Israel. Once again you will take your tambourines, and you will go dancing with happy people. Once again you will plant..." //Jeremiah 31:2-5//

*italicized portions noted here of writings taken from the beautiful books, Resurrection Year (click HERE to purchase) and The Making of Us (click HERE to purchase)

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