This crazy ride we are on, known as life, is a bumpy one filled with highs and lows, ups and downs. The sooner we embrace the constant in our life, which is change, the easier this journey will be. Easier said than done. I had to remind myself of this last week.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving, Noah and I attended the 2012 Academy Awards Ambassador Appreciation event in Sacramento, CA hosted by Sierra Donor Services. It was a wonderful evening. Noah and I dressed “to the nines” and had a memorable night with kindred spirits. I was excited to introduce Noah to the amazing staff at Sierra Donor Services and for him to meet the many ambassadors and learn of their remarkable stories. The evening ended with a great surprise as I received the “2012 Outstanding Media Ambassador” award. This was in recognition of me being named by Donate Life as one of the “12 Most Inspiring Women” of their “20 Million in 2012” campaign and for all of the media events I did during April for Donate Life Month. I was so grateful for this recognition and the beautiful gift of life I have been given.
The following morning I awoke still on a high from the fun evening we shared. I started my day at work with an extra bounce in my step. Then in a few short seconds everything did a 180-degree turn! I had a petite seizure. I was walking to my desk when this “wave” came over me and I blanked out for a second. My body slowly swayed forward and back uncontrollably. I grabbed the side of the desk closest to me for fear that I might lose consciousness. I made my way back to my desk and sat down. I felt very foggy and unfocused. My thoughts were conflicted as I contemplated on whether I should call my neurologist or not. I knew if I called she would probably increase my meds and I didn’t want to deal with the side effects. I gave in, as I knew what I needed to do. I headed outside to call my doctor. I was placed on hold for a while and when the receptionist answered the phone, I knew what I wanted to say, but what came out of my mouth did not make sense. My words were all jumbled. I then knew I had made the right decision. My assumptions were correct as my doctor decided to increase my dosage of medication and also ordered for me to do a 24-hour EEG.
I was not myself the rest of day. Felt very unfocused and also discouraged by what had happened. I did not necessarily want to increase my meds and I’m not overly thrilled about having to do a 24-hour EEG. However, one constant with the lows in my life is that change seems to make everything clearer for me. It reassures me of how precious every healthy day is and how one day can change so much from the day before. When I got home that evening, I found myself hugging Noah extra tight.
After the difficult start to our Thanksgiving week, I was really looking forward to spending a long weekend with Noah. We started our Thanksgiving by enjoying the beauty that surrounds us. Noah went for a run on the trails by our house and I went for a hike.
As I started walking on the trail, I inhaled a huge, deep breath and instantly felt rejuvenated by the cool, crisp fall air. As I heard the leaves crunch below my feet, my mind was filled with everything that I am thankful for. The mild hiccup at the beginning of the week made me focus on all that I am fortunate to have. I have an amazingly supportive husband and parents, wonderful family and friends, great health thanks to my kidney donor and a priceless support system of doctors and friends that help me to live a successful and fulfilling life despite battling an incurable disease. I have a full-time job, roof over my head and live in a beautiful town, which is a vacation destination for many. The canopy of trees above me unfolded to the perfectly clear blue sky as I reflected on how thankful I am to be able to use my personal experiences to provide hope and inspiration to others. I felt powerful and strong as I hiked up and down the hills in the canyon and was reminded of how amazing our bodies are and how much they can overcome. When I reached the highest point of my hike, I stopped at the top of the hill to catch my breath. It was perfectly silent. I was alone in nature. I looked around the canyon and soaked in the beautiful fall colors. The sun was shining brilliantly above. As I raised my hand to block the sun, I looked upward and saw a single eagle flying above me. My eyes followed it as it soared freely through the sky. An overwhelming sense of peace came over me. I found myself smiling as my eyes continued to follow the eagle gliding above. I knew everything was going to be ok and that it was a beautiful day to be alive.
I hope all of you had a wonderful, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving and would love to hear what you were thankful for this Thanksgiving.