Two years ago, I wrote the following piece after returning home from a walk. At that time, I was just starting my health coaching practice, and I did not even have a website. Yet, when I saved it, I titled it Blog Post 1. After all that time, it seems only fitting that this is the first post that I will make on this blog. My circumstances have changed greatly for the better over the last two years, and I have since put my autoimmune and chronic Lyme diseases into remission. However, I vividly remember how I felt when I wrote this piece, and the feelings behind the words still bring me to tears. I know what it feels like to have a chronic illness and not feel like yourself. I know how it feels to search for answers everyday while experiencing extreme brain fog and fatigue. I understand that frustrations that come with it, when you feel like you have lost parts of yourself along the way. And I have experienced the overwhelming fear of possibly never getting those parts of yourself back. Once you recover from a chronic illness, your life will be forever changed. In the meantime, I encourage you to continue to believe that things will get better. Keep your hope and continue to fight so that you may find your answers. It is all possible. And I promise you, you are “still in there.”
Still in There Taking my dog for a walk in our rural community is one of my favorite activities. No matter what type of chaos is going on in my life, I inevitably feel better after 30- 60 minutes walking outside. The trees, the air, the animals, the sun, the wind, the sounds…
Often when I go for one of these walks, I will pause for a moment by one of the many small creeks that flow alongside or under the road. I love to stand with my eyes closed and listen to the water. For the past week, the temperatures were nearly record breaking cold, and the high temps for the day often did not get out of the single digits. Taking the wind into consideration, it felt like negative -3 on most of my morning walks. On those mornings, to be honest, I didn’t take the time to listen to much. I endured the cold and tried to get back home as quickly as possible.
However, finally we experienced a mild winter day (the temperature was almost 40), and I stopped at one of these creeks. I could hear the babbling of the water as I rounded the bend towards it, but as I got closer I could only see white. We had gotten a few inches of snow and ice in the previous days, but that in conjunction with the freezing temps had caused the flowing water to freeze. I stared at the creek and wondered where the sound was coming from if the water was frozen solid. As I followed the path of the creek with my eyes, I soon discovered the origin of the sound. There was a small pool of water where the water could still be seen bubbling slightly. I looked back at the solid ice over the rest of the creek and marveled at how the water was still flowing in there. Underneath all that hard ice, the heart of the stream was flowing. I thought, “It’s still in there.”
As I continue to work on putting my autoimmune condition into remission, I found this extremely comforting and hopeful… Even though I currently cannot exercise the way that I want to or eat the foods that I enjoy. Even though I have a hard time getting out of bed some days. Even though I’m not sure at what point I’ll finally be able to say that I put my condition into remission, and that I’m symptom free, I’m still “in there”. I just need to listen to the subtle sounds that show that although my current condition is not ideal, there is still a part of me that continues to flow inside. One day, my energy will be flowing again freely like the water. The true me will be able to be expressed, and my symptoms will begin to disappear one by one. In the meantime, I just need to wait patiently for the ice to thaw.