It seems like literally just yesterday I was writing my year-end review for 2015, and yet here I am again re-capping on another year gone. Another year older, a year full of laughs, tears, and many, many lessons. 2016. Where do I even begin?
Thinking back to January of this year I remember feeling pretty good. I had just finished recovering from my third, and final foot surgery two months prior, and I was ready to, literally, run head first into 2016. As I always do, I opened the first page of my new planner and set some goals for myself. Some were personal goals that I chose to keep to myself, while others were goals I was very passionate about and openly shared with others. It’s exciting to look back on some of my goals and see what I’ve accomplished throughout the year. It was a tough year for me, as it was for so many people I love dearly.
This year one of my goals was to publish some of my writing on a site other than my own. One month in and I began contributing original pieces to one of my very favorite websites, Thought Catalog. Writing for Thought Catalog is one of my proudest accomplishments of this year. It’s right up there with streamlining my life and not over spending on things I don’t need, and landing my dream job. Yes, I just slipped that little detail right on in there! In November, after a few months of interviewing, I finally got the offer that I have been waiting years for. I’m so excited to share with you all that I am now a part of the team over at PurseBlog, and I couldn’t be more excited. You know when people say that everything happens for a reason and that whatever is meant to be will be? Well, I have to agree that they are right. I used to say the same things, but my struggles and that teeny, tiny voice in the back of my head sometimes tried to convince me otherwise. I finally feel like I am right where I am supposed to be. Though there have been many changes in my life the last few months I am learning to embrace change. For though it may sound ironic, change is the only constant in life. It is inevitable, and the greatest gift you can give to yourself is to embrace change, ride the wave of it and let life take you where it’s meant to.
This year one of my very best friends got married, and one of the highlights of this year was being able to celebrate her. From her beautiful bridal shower to our unforgettable bachelorette trip to Puerto Rico and one of the best weddings ever, I made priceless memories with my amazing friends. It was those people who got me through all of the challenges that this year threw at me. Though I wish I could continue this post with all of the wonderful and positive things that happened this year, it is just not reality. It’s not my reality, and it’s not anyone’s reality. As I’ve gotten older, I have learned to accept the roller coaster that is life, and I have learned to embrace every single challenge, for it is life’s ups and downs that make us who we are. I was lucky enough to learn at a relatively young age how precious life is. I was 24, naive and a little too la de da about life when my brother got sick, but from then on I never, not once, took my life for granted, and I never miss a chance to tell the people I love how special they are to me. Shout out to my peeps: you know who you are 🙂
This year, life again, reminded me how short it can truly be when I began having my own health struggles mid-April. I have shared my diagnosis and struggles of life with recurrent pericarditis on the blog before, which you can read about here. Long story short, for much of the year I dealt with crippling chest pain, so bad it would stop me right in my tracks and force me to either sit down or bend over, dizziness, fainting, and almost unbearable fatigue. Hey- extreme tiredness happens when your heart isn’t pumping properly. There were many days where I missed out on outings with friends, family get togethers, or life in general. Some days I was just too tired to make it out of bed. However, I was never too tired to cry, and cry I did- A LOT. It was frustrating to literally feel like crap every. single. day. I had my blood drawn more times than I can even count, had over 10 different tests on my heart from multiple EKGs, echocardiograms and a cardiac MRI to top it off. As the days went on I felt more and more like an 80-year old than a vivacious, active 26-year old. Each time I went to the cardiologist I waited for good news, yet unlike most people whose cases resolve within a week or so, mine kept coming back, and kept getting worse, culminating with a moderate sized pericardial effusion aka fluid around the heart, and an almost surgery. Yet, May, June, July, August and September went by before I posted anything about my health on the blog. Part of me didn’t want to share how much pain I was in physically and emotionally because I felt a sense of guilt for complaining about something that may seem minor in comparison to other health problems. I am pretty self-aware, and I know that it can always be worse, but that doesn’t make what I’ve been going through a cake-walk either. However, by October I couldn’t take it anymore, and I finally started opening up on my blog and on social media about what I was going through. I got over the fact that I didn’t look “sick,” and began talking. It felt good to let it all out, and I even was able to connect with others who are struggling too. Pericarditis is relatively rare, and it was refreshing to talk to people who get it.
I am now almost 3 months into my third round of treatment, and though I still have to take my medication for a minimum of another 3 months before my doctor will ween me off I am grateful for the improvement I have made. Each and everyday I feel a little bit better, and I have slowly began running again, which brings me back to my some of my goals for 2016. Though I was not able to complete my half marathon, which was the one goal I was bursting at the seams to accomplish, 2016 gave me a much greater gift: my life. Both of my doctors have stressed the dangers my body could have faced had I not been too sick to run the half marathon in May. Call it fate, or just pure luck, I am grateful to not be part of a statistic, and every morning when I take my pill I smile and remember that I am truly blessed. Not everyone gets the “second chance” that I have been given.
As 2017 approaches I am excited for everything it has in store for me both personally and professionally and I thank all of my family, friends and readers for joining me on this journey I call my life. I wish you all the happiest and healthiest of years ahead. Thank you so much for your unconditional love and continued support. Xx