I’m so glad you’re here!
A little about me: I have been married to Christopher for 16 years and have three handsome, clever, hilarious boys. I’ll forever love 90’s hip-hop/r&B, IKEA succulent plants, sunshine and the ocean. My life’s goal is to pull off the comfort of pajamas and yoga pants as regular, everyday clothing. I’m currently blessed to be in a season of life where friends and family are abundant in my neighborhood and city. But community has not been a blessing I was always gifted with.
Loss & Loneliness
Having a tumultuous childhood may be the very beginning of my journey but I’ll start halfway into our marriage and a few months as new parents when our dog died from a seizure that took away his brain function. He was our fur baby and it was tragic to watch him go. A month later, my brother died from a heroin addiction that we tirelessly attempted to save him from. Shortly after, I realized that I was carrying months of undiagnosed postpartum depression that morphed into a new level of despair from the difficult times and unexpected losses.
After tragedy hit my family first with my brother’s death, the burden became unbearable when my four-year-old nephew died from health complications of a heart defect. The people around me were as sad as I was and friends and co-workers were just too overwhelmed or ill-equipped to help.
During a short two years, I managed two pregnancies and stumbled through motherhood, feeling lost in my role and alone in my specific circumstances. Nobody else around me seemed to struggle with the ‘normal-ness’ of being a mother, much less understood what it was like to have death and grief looming overhead.
Illness and Disbelief
The final nail in the coffin was just after my 2nd son was born. I began to feel sick, really sick. But my sickness was indescribable. I often felt like I was dying. Pain and fatigue radiated throughout my entire body. Lights were unbearably bright and I walked around in a fog. My hearing and vision would fluctuate and I would often have bouts with vertigo. My memory and cognitive thinking was terrible. I couldn’t do simple math, understand anything I read, nor remember names of people I’ve known my whole life.
Simple, everyday tasks were becoming impossible. And the many, many doctors I would visit didn’t have answers for me. Finding a diagnosis became a full time job. In the six months that I fervently attempted to get help, I saw 22 doctors and specialists that passed me on to another doctor or would even turn me away.
Many times I was told my symptoms were non-specific to one diagnosis. Often, they would pull Christopher aside and suggest antidepressants and counseling were the only cures, implying that it was all in my head.
I had ruled out and exhausted almost every option from every medical professional and it was ironically WebMD that led me to the one diagnosis that had not been explored: Lyme Disease.
Self-advocacy and Journey to Health
Back in 2010, there was little information about Lyme on the internet. No celebrity was linked to the disease and very few people knew about it. I did my best googling but the lonely journey continued as I found that most doctors did not acknowledge Lyme as a legitimate chronic illness. I learned that many people had to seek help from doctors that were many states or countries away.
Luckily, I found a Lyme Literate Doctor that was only 2 hours away. And the the tiniest steps of healing my body began. But the outlook was grim as there is not one cure for Lyme. Not a quick fix. Just as my diagnosis was vague and not easy to understand, the success rate for healing was just as unclear. There’s not a set path for healing with Lyme, no tried and true protocol. As talented as my doctor is, he’s just doing his best to attack the bacteria that wreaks havoc as quickly as he learns about it.
Four long years of non-stop antibiotics and drugs brought me initial healing. No longer bed ridden, debilitated, and fatigued. But the healing had just begun. The damage antibiotics, three pregnancies, stress, and newly found gene mutations (MTHFR) has caused me to be a life long advocate of my health. The list of 22 doctors has more than tripled and has ranged from every variety: from charlatan witch doctor to noble respected health professional and everything in between. I’ve survived candida, thyroid disease, severe hormone imbalances, poor gut health, aggressive strains of mono, strep, staph, and parasites. Hair loss, acne, and weight gain and chemical depression/anxiety have been the result of these newer health trials. I’ve watched my outer beauty fade and I’ve questioned my worth.
My emotions, my body, and my spirit have endured so much. And for a lot of it I’ve felt alone.
Growth, Hope, and Community
But, in my loneliness I’ve grown. In my illness and loss, I learned that everyone has a struggle, a setback, a tragedy. This has give me a connection with those who feel disconnected. It’s opened my eyes to the beauty of pain and what it teaches us about living and loving fully.
My journey hasn’t ended and there’s not a well-packaged positive ending. Because there isn’t an ‘ending’. I am Constantly Under Construction.
I’ve learned that it’s ok not to be ok. It’s normal to not have a pretty wrapped-with-a-bow ending to a hardship story.
The hardships I’ve endured are a gift bigger than a perfect destination.
I’ve grown by stepping outside of myself. And I’ve been given hope by seeing the struggle and endurance in other people’s lives.
So many wonderful, inspiring lives have seen the value of difficult challenges. With this podcast, it’s those journeys I want to highlight and share.
We are Constantly Under Construction.