Thursday, June 25, 2015

The value of a breath

There is a very popular saying - One doesn't know the value of something until they lose it. You really do not realize the true meaning of this sentence until you actually experience the loss.

On my birthday this year I made a new year resolution to lose my stubborn twenty pounds which were putting me in the "overweight" category and to get fit and lean. I joined one of the fanciest gyms around and did all the right things - get a workout buddy - check, start doing weights - check, work out at least three times a week with an appropriate mix of strength training/aerobics/stretching - check. I felt great, after many years I saw my butt shape up a bit, my tummy collapsed, people at work commented that I looked like I lost weight, my posture improved; I couldn't be happier!!! P and I had signed up for a half marathon and I was looking forward to training for it.

And then allergy season hit and I returned from a business trip and went straight to bed and since then have not returned to normal. This was two months ago. About a month ago I had my first asthma attack ever. I have never had asthma before - I had run out to get a cake for my boss before going to the gym and I didn't even make it two blocks. It was the strangest sensation ever - like someone had held a hand over your face. I was hot and uncomfortable and struggled to breathe. I pulled over and blasted the AC hoping that the cold air might make whatever it was, go away. But it didn't. Then I slowly drove home and sat in the kitchen for the longest time before making my way upstairs to lay down. All the time wondering what this was and trying to understand what my body was going through. As soon as I lay down, it worsened rapidly and then I clearly realized - I cannot breathe!!

I went downstairs and told my husband that I am not kidding and I need a doctor right away. P is extremely calm in emergencies. After a second of contemplation on which route to take - 911 or ER or Urgent care; we immediately drove to the nearest urgent care. As soon as I got there, the doctor took me in and examined me. She then scolded me for being such an idiot and waiting till the last minute as I was barely breathing by that time. An awfully painful steroid shot and nebuliser treatment later; we left the urgent care and went home. The week after was a blur with strong steroids, inhaler and allergy medicines keeping me in a fog. Me who was the enthusiastic smiling outgoing girl - I was confined to bed like an invalid.

I have not returned to normal; hardly have been to the gym since then. Every day I feel exhausted most of the time. Some days even after a full nights sleep, I wake up with my throat, body, legs, back, head, face hurting. My kids wait for me to return from work to go biking and I cannot muster up the strength to even stand up in the evenings some days. To add to the stress, my in laws are visiting and my mother in law has already set the stage with many thoughtless hurtful comments. It just reminded me that we could never be friends. My sister in law and family are now coming to stay with us for a week - I would have been overjoyed at the prospect of them visiting except I am not sure if she is going to gang up with her mom against me this time.

I am a positive girl - I am grateful. I struggle to move towards the light in dark situations. And this attribute of mine is being tested on a daily, sometimes hourly basis by my current condition. When you feel like shit first thing in the morning, it's very hard to start the day on a positive note. I have unshed tears in my eyes most days and most days I cry alone for some time on the way to work; some days I cry at night with P by my side. I hate being sick. I hate not knowing what I should do to get better. I hate it that my medications don't give me instant relief. I hate it that I cannot bounce back to where I was two months ago. I hate it that I do not have the energy to sleep with my husband. I hate it that my stomach that had begun to tighten up now resembles a baggy watermelon again. I hate it that my jeans which had begun to fall away from my body are once again pasted snug over my fat. I hate well meaning friends and relatives spouting advice and home remedies. If you have not gone through asthma shut the fuck up and just be supportive. I hate that I have turned into a hateful person.

I want my health back. Everyday I fight with not giving in to self pity and depression, as I lay in my bed alone in the evenings and remind myself of all the good things in my life and to be grateful and that this too shall pass. Others are going through worse etc. I try not to be bitter when best friends do not have time to talk or be my support system when I need them the most in this time. I cheer myself up and tell me that one day I will bounce back and these months will be just a faint memory. The worst of this ailment is that you don't have anything to show for it - no broken bones, no loss of weight, no dark circles under eyes; you cannot explain to someone what it means to not be able to breathe in free; how it feels to have your entire body ache all the time.

So if you see anyone who doesn't outwardly apparently look sick to you but says that they are tired because of such and such condition, don't be judgmental. Be gentle, be empathetic and offer them support and positive thoughts. If you see someone walk and talk wistfully about running, don't mindlessly give them advice on how being regular is the key and how they should diet or run everyday - that might not be an option to them. Be kind. And most of all count your blessings and be damn grateful for every little thing in your life that you take for granted because no one knows what tomorrow is going to bring! Much love from an overweight wheezing girl laying in her bed struggling to stay positive as she listens to her kids play in the backyard without her and wishing and praying to God that tomorrow will be the day when she can also join them.

1 comment:

  1. Take care Sonia. Hope you get better very very soon. And I will pray that things stay fine when they all come home.