Hope

I have been wanting to update this blog for a while, but I haven’t known what to say exactly. It has been a wild last 8 weeks, a very quick 8 weeks at the least. Many things have occurred since my IV treatments at such a quick pace that it has been overwhelming. Nothing has been as worse as losing sleep over flashbacks to those two weeks, though. No one really knows what happened, so I’m going to talk about those three weeks and hopefully that will help me get over my flashbacks and fear of what happened.

During those three weeks, I faced a challenge that I have never experienced before in my life. I went in with the idea planted in my mind that these treatments would be fine and simple, but instead they were rough and intricate. No one could have prepared me for what was about to happen, and nothing could have helped me to feel better until it was over.

The first week was tough. We all have our dark times, where we feel nothing positive will happen and we struggle to see the bright side of anything. I’ve had several of those, and some severe dark times (I am not afraid to admit it anymore, I’ve had a rough past, and no, I am not seeking for attention as I say that, just being open and honest). I’ve never gone through such a difficult time in my life, than that first week. There were days where I could only eat crackers, and that was usually in the morning. I wouldn’t drink fluids either. It was miserable. My parents watched me as if I was a living vegetable unable to live on my own anymore at that point. I never thought I would be in a position where I couldn’t even feed myself or give myself fluids, I felt like I had no more fighting in me.

Other days, I couldn’t lift my body up. I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. I began to crawl to anywhere I had to go, even that was difficult and unpleasant. The worst day came the day before I was given more nausea medication. I couldn’t get up out of my bed for the longest time and my mom had to begin carrying me to places around the house. I continued to pass out/faint because I was incredibly weak and was losing the will to fight my disease. But I told myself I wouldn’t give up and quit. Well, my body almost did that day. Something happened that day, that has become a nightmare that I even occasionally flashback to everyday.

The next day, everything turned around and started to get better. I gained strength back, I was walking around again and started eating more. I went from sleeping 16-20 hours a day, to around 10-14 (I know that sounds worse, but it means I got to live a little and be able to hang out with my parents and dogs). I started feeling healthy, I could function normally for once! That’s when I knew I would be able to return to Elon, even though the doctors and my family weren’t sure, I fought hard enough to convince them I would be ok.

I never gave up. Education and work is important to me, and I didn’t want to miss an entire semester. So there I was, in the hospital, a few days before the semester would begin, deciding I could return. I didn’t skip a beat when I returned, it felt right to be back at Elon. It was overwhelming at first, people asking to see me and say hi or we should do this. It made me feel great, knowing so many people cared and supported me. I tried my best to see as many people as possible that first week.

Now 8 weeks later, I have only been getting stronger and improving every week. The first few weeks I did have issues with my medications and feeling awful, but I have figured out a schedule that optimizes the best out of me each and every day. I was surprised that three weeks after returning, I could run 5 miles. I couldn’t run 5 miles two months before I was even on IV treatments. It was surprising, but I didn’t stop there. I try to run as much as possible now because I want to be how I was in high school, athletic and energized.

I’m grateful for the support from my peers, my bosses, and my professors. Everyone has welcomed me back with open arms. People have told me to take it easy while at school, but I refuse to. I won’t let a serious illness define who I am, I will define how that illness can affect me, not control me. I don’t wish to be seen differently, I wish to be normal and do what I have always done, work until I have 0% energy left. I have reached that level a few times, and have learned that my body shuts down because of the meds, but it won’t keep me away.

During spring break I visited one of my doctors, my asthma specialist. There, I completed a breathing test and it has shown significant improvement. My breathing test was at the best levels it has been since I’ve seen my doctor (it has been almost 1 year since I’ve begun seeing him). Not only has my breathing improved, but it is back to normal and at the average level for normal healthy lungs. Recovery is going well and I’m glad to hear my breathing is fine.

I never thought I would be writing blogs like this about something so serious in my life, but everything happens for a reason. I have been given a curse, that has also been a blessing in disguise. I recognized my perseverance, learned how strong I truly I am, and became more resilient. I found a quote that has stuck to me since I’ve been back at school. It’s only fitting to end this post with that quote.

“Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation.”

Never give up.

Christian Johnston

“Though I fall, I will rise again.”

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