Every day someone somewhere is dealing with illness. Either being diagnosed with some type of untreatable, terminal disease or the disease is treatable but has a long traumatic journey to return to complete health. At that particular point in time, the emotional impact can be so overwhelming that it’s difficult to even begin to see an other side, to see a light at the end of the tunnel, to even begin to imagine that there is an end to the tunnel!
As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Abdominal TB in 2017 and spent a total of 4 months in intensive care. Like many of this kind of extreme diseases, TB can be a terminal sentence. I was so fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time under the care of a doctor who was devoted and dedicated to returning me to complete health. The journey lasted approximately 18 months and I was eventually announced TB free in September of 2018 – so not that long ago. During my illness and through treatment, I lost over 30 kgs in weight, something that I’ve always seen as a wonderful bonus to being ill!
Why am I going back to this story? Well, this last weekend, we hosted a baby shower for my son and daughter-in-law, which we self-catered. There I was, carrying tables and chairs around, laying out crockery, cutlery, table-cloths, food. And when the event was over, I carried those tables and chairs again, to tidy up and return the venue to its original state. Yes, it was really hard work, but when I got into bed that night, the pain in my body was something that I embraced with so much appreciation.
Just two years ago, I was so ill, I couldn’t walk on my own and here I am now, being able to do things that I never imagined I could do again. Our bodies are so remarkable. They are such amazing machines and have the capacity to heal themselves. Yes, sometimes we need the assistance of medical treatment as well. But, if you just allow your body to lead the way and listen to what it tells you, it knows exactly what to do to make itself whole.
What I have learned over the last two years is that my illness was my greatest blessing. And why I say this is that I have become so much more compassionate towards myself. I understand too so much more that to reach out an accept help is not a weakness. I have learned that to be seen at your most vulnerable is also not a weakness. And I have learned that when the chips are down, those who love you will always have your back. Those who love you will be there to support you and do things for you that you never imagined possible. I have learned that the people that love me are my most treasured connections to my own life. Without them, I would never have been able to walk this journey.
I’m being reminded that this month, October, is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Please don’t ever think that it can’t happen to you, whether you are female or male – yes men also get breast cancer. Please do your regular checks, listen to what your body is telling you and act accordingly.