Birthdays are a celebration of life. It is a day when we acknowledge the passage of time and the cycle of change. A moment where we reflect on the past, count our blessings and plan for the future…it’s a new beginning!
March 2017 – It is impossible to survive Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS), grieve to the extent that I do and then take life for granted. I clearly understood that the ability to breath, eat, drink, talk, move, exist, love and be loved is a privilege. 1 year ago I was a quadriplegic, in a coma and on life support, I now have an opportunity to embark on my 39th year of life – time, change and blessings – a new beginning!
I desperately wanted to embrace the opportunity, both emotionally and physically. Even my subconscious was in agreement, in the limited sleep that I was getting I would have dreams in which I was happy, pain-free and walking perfectly (in stiletto heels of course!). I wanted my dreams to be a prediction of my future and not a taunt of my past. I just needed my emotions and body to get in sync but they were holding fast to old issues.
There was lingering facial paralysis and I was still unable to chew properly, speak clearly, move my forehead or smile (I really missed my smile). While those issues were more a frustration than a hindrance, in contrast I was completely physically exhausted, I could not make it through the day without resting. My knees and ankles were in constant competition to see which could hurt or swell the most. My right knee was so bothersome that it was recommended that I take an x-ray which revealed Osteoarthritis – The Diagnosis Part 3. The shock-like sensations in my legs intensified yet again and would run from my lower back, down my legs and into my feet and toes. It felt like there was a physical thing trying to exit through the soles of my feet, with each jolt I envisioned myself regaining feeling in my legs and that became a coping mechanism against the constant onslaught.
Physical therapy was another battle between body and mind. In my workouts I was using the parallel bars, pulpit and walker frames, stall bars and the total gym machine to strengthen my shoulders, arms, chest, abs, back and legs. My mind was willing to do 15 reps but my body was protesting bitterly, many sessions I would have to take extra time between reps or stop the session completely because of pain and fatigue.
In addition, I was becoming increasingly anxious about the length of time it was taking for my local hospital/doctor to provide the medical records and referral letter to be submitted to the hospital in Miami. Patience was never one of my virtues and despite their best efforts, GBS and NHO were not yet able to change that.
To counter, I repeatedly willed myself to make my dreams and visions the focal point of my thoughts, the catalyst for my emotions and the motivation for my strength and perseverance. It was not easy nor was I always successful but it was the only option that would allow me to move forward.
In the end, I believe that my birthday and birth-month were all that they were meant to be. I was thankful for the past and my cherished memories. I felt loved and appreciated by many which made the absence of the one I was missing less hurtful. I continued to fight even when it seemed that I could not and most importantly, I accepted that from this point onward, March would always be the month that I almost died as well as the start of a new year in my life, the impact that fact would have on me really just depended on how I chose to look at it. 421 days with GBS & NHO and at least one question was answered…
*** …I am a phoenix, I survived GBS to be reborn and rise as a stronger and wiser me ***