Grateful for Right Now

It has taken a really long time to get to a point where I can actually enjoy exercise. Starting out, I’d be pretty convinced I was dying 5 minutes in. My heart was acting nuts, and the updated diagnosis of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease on top of congestive heart failure means pain, pain, pain and more pain. 
A few months back, bestie Julie Muriuki and I met a lady with 9 autoimmune disease disorders and we didn’t think we could handle anything like that. Yeah. We both went through heart failure within weeks of each other. This on top of fibromyalgia for her and SLE for me.
The updated diagnosis of Mixed Connective Tissue means I still have Lupus, but I also have to worry about sclerosis and polymyositis.
You don’t think you are strong enough to go through the worst and come out stronger and better until you actually have to do it. 
Last week, I collapsed at the gym just a few minutes after spending an afternoon giggling with a couple of friends and playing with Guillermo. Friday night, well, evening, after spending a day hooked up to monitors, doc tells me: 
So, si you will really enjoy the weekend, right? You are doing great. Go! Dance, go out on a date, do something fun! I’ll see you next week but I want all the dets. (He is a 50 year old guy so you can see why giving him the dets on a potential date would be… Wait, who am I even dating? Did I kidnap the cute boy while I was passed out cold?)
Anyway, feeling a little if-I-die-I’m-gonna-die-laughing, I get back to the new normal. Wake up. Read. Write. Play with Guillermo. Go to the gym. Dance with my imaginary boyfriend. Make up dets for doc. 

  

I’m really beginning to enjoy the gym sessions. Lately, my time slot is full of women of varying weight and fitness levels. We are not friends. But we cheer each other on as we work out. Actually, we don’t even know each other’s names, and I think we all like it that way. We have our different struggles, but when she is working on set 3 on the bench press we are kindred sisters.
I upped my gym time to an hour and fifteen minutes this week. Yesterday, at the end of my session, I was stretching on the mat and I had a moment of clarity.
I am grateful to be alive. But even if I do die, it will be okay. I’m grateful to be alive right now.

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