The cheese stands alone

October 22, 2014

Being hit with a debilitating illness is humbling; it’s humbling and isolating and eye opening.

Things that once seemed so important – like what’s jammed in your closet – suddenly have no value, while other things you never gave a second thought to – like being able to wear thin soled $1.99 flip flops – are on your most missed list. It’s nothing shy of completely bizarre to have conversations with people comparing their common colds and relationship issues to your legitimate plight to stay alive and thrive. At some point you feel like you’re in the looney bin. Hello, I can’t wear an effin’ flip flop! I can barely make breakfast or stay awake more than a few hours at a time. And what about THE BILLS. See what I mean??

As someone who is always looking for the deeper meaning, I find myself afraid to ask. Why did this happen to me? Why is it happening again? What am I missing? Did I do something terribly wrong to deserve this? Yet I continue to ask myself all these questions and more, maybe the scariest being what if there is no reason? What if there is absolutely no purpose whatsoever behind any of this? THEN WHAT?

As a spiritual person I hope for growth. Even if I don’t see it now, I know from experience that living through difficult situations cultivates a depth of character that smooth sailing just can’t. I might not like the process, but I do like being armed with the result it produces in me. That’s a frightening thing to admit when your health is tenuous. I mean, what could be coming next? Let’s hope nothing because there’s an apple pastry I’d like to make this week and my arm is a limp noodle. Seriously though, even though I am serious about the pastry, it’s scary to say that out loud. I was so happy with my almost two year progress less than a month ago, and then look what happened.

I’d love to be able to come on here and say, omg false alarm I’m cured!, but that’s not happening. I’m still exhausted, weak and need a lot of rest. My brain seems less scrambled than last time, but I did call a croissant a crouton the other day so there’s that to consider. Make no mistake though, I’m happy to be alive.


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  • Reply Trevor Zantos October 24, 2014 at 3:26 am

    So we haven’t seen each other or talked in awhile but I know what it’s like to have your life turned upside down by medical things.

    As far as a deeper meaning for your struggle I think that is a double edged sword personally. For me I have no idea to this day why I had my catastrophic accident 8 years ago and lived and then have to continue to live a tortured existence for the rest of the short days I have left on earth. Did I gain experience sure, did it affect me positively yes, but it’s also affected my personality negatively. Some times my experience proves useful and sometimes my injury and pain racked body just limits me. I drove myself insane asking why for years, I still wonder but I have resolved myself to the fact that I have no idea why. That being said, I’m still alive miraculously and even through everything I try to enjoy the time I do have being alive. I still have many bad days and get frustrated but it’s part of the gig.

    It is very isolating because there aren’t many people who you can talk to because people just don’t get it, it’s not their fault it’s just an experience that can only be lived. Anyways, good luck! It’s a very tough road that will for better or worse always haunt your world. If you need anything I think you know how to find me.

  • Reply Suzy October 23, 2014 at 2:08 am

    I am so sorry you are facing these challenges. Health is something we don’t fully appreciate until we are no longer in complete good health. I know that some probably believe that my husband, children and I live a very nice life. While we are fortunate in many many ways, we are fully aware that at any moment it could all come to a halt. My husband is currently undergoing treatment for his fourth cancer. His second cancer was treated and then he had a stem cell transplant. Number three was totally unrelated to cancers 1 and 2. And now number four is not curable. It is early stage and could stay that way for a very long time with treatment. Or not. Only time will tell. In the middle of these, I was diagnosed with melanoma and had to have surgery too. Now I am a regular at the dermatologist, and I leave with many bandaids over biopsied spots. What we have learned is this. We live only one day at a time. We appreciate every single day. Whatever energy we have, we do what we can. Keeping you in my prayers. Take care.

    • Reply This Free Bird October 23, 2014 at 2:57 am

      Suzy, thank you for being so brave to share your situation here. My God! Are you open to alternative methods of healing in addition to traditional treatment? Have you seen this website? – lots of amazing testimonials and resources there. You have the right perspective for sure: all we have is today and it is up to us to make the most of it. I’m emailing you right now. Sending you healing vibes, positive thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply lena October 22, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I was just talking with a girlfriend last night about our respective parents’ hearing loss (my mom went in for surgery early yesterday morning), and we were talking about exactly that–why wonderful, sensitive, kind people face so much struggle.

    Then this morning, I stumbled on this quote that I sent to her, and which made me think of you, too.

    “Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis

    He might have been wrong about the ordinariness of the three of you, but I don’t think he got the destiny bit confused at all.

    • Reply This Free Bird October 23, 2014 at 2:14 am

      Dear God thank you, Lena. I am totally an ordinary person so I hope CS was right about me. Wishing your mom and your friend’s parent good health and hearing ASAP.

  • Reply Jenn October 22, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Yes to everything Jen says. And I know it’s unfair to compare our situations but YES to reprioritizing when health shit hits the fan. It’s so weird to go from being a healthy person one day and literally the next day not. Logically you know it could happen but that’s very different from actually experiencing it. Sending so many good vibes your way!!

    • Reply This Free Bird October 23, 2014 at 2:12 am

      It’s just bizarre and bewildering. Really humbles you and makes you realize how limited you are, and what a gift good health really is. Thank you for the good vibes. Much appreciated and needed!!

  • Reply Jen October 22, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Carrie, it is really an honor to even cyber-know you. I wish I could offer some form of tangible support for you, but please know that you have a virtual army out here rooting for you and keeping you in our thoughts and prayers, and we are constantly amazed by your fortitude and perspective. You will prevail!

    • Reply This Free Bird October 23, 2014 at 2:10 am

      I don’t even know what to say bc I don’t feel like I have much fortitude, so thank you!

  • Reply Lisa October 22, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Keep on resting and taking care of yourself and slowly, but surely you’ll make progress – I’m sure of it! Then the pastry will still be waiting 🙂

    • Reply This Free Bird October 23, 2014 at 2:08 am

      Apple turnovers forever

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