unexpected life lesson

For the last seven weeks I’ve been sick.

When it first started I thought maybe I was fighting the flu or that I wasn’t getting enough sleep. But as days went by it got progressively worse. I felt dizzy and faint, I was getting headaches and was so clumsy I started wearing flats all the time for fear I would trip and fall in heels. I realized something must really be wrong and I went to the doctor. It took three visits (to three different people) before I was finally diagnosed with Vertigo. That combined with being severely anemic and having low blood pressure made for a near constant state of dizziness and nausea. Some days it’s mild, some days it’s so bad I haven’t been able to lift my head off the pillow, but I finally got a diagnosis and the right medicine which has really helped.

I’m back at work now but the doctor told me there’s still a couple of weeks before it’s gone completely. The dizziness is constant and frustrating but believe it or not, it’s taught me a few unexpected life lessons. I thought I’d share them with you today because maybe you’re struggling with these things too. ~Rachel

I’m Not Listening to My Body: For WEEKS I was feeling off and I made excuses without even realizing it. I’d stand up and feel dizzy and think ‘I must need a snack’ or I’d feel sluggish and clumsy and think ‘time for afternoon coffee’. There’s always too much to do in a day and too little time to do it so I wasn’t stopping to listen to what was really going on. Because of that I ignored the symptoms for far too long which could have been really dangerous. 

I’m Still an Emotional Eater: I wrote about my emotional eating in a post several years ago. Since then I feel like I’ve done a complete 180 when it comes to eating to cope with stress… except apparently, when I’m sick. I think everyone eats comfort food when they’re feeling cruddy, but this was more eating anything and everything because I’d been sick for so long and felt like ‘I deserve this because life stinks right now’. That’s a dangerous mentality because it’s an easy one to slip back into. Also dangerous because now that I’m feeling better, I’ve got 5 new pounds to deal with. This was a good reminder for me because at least when I’m aware of the bad choices I make to cope I can try and confront them BEFORE I eat half a cheesecake.

I’m Kind of a Jerk: Not all the time (I hope!) but definitely when I’m not feeling well. It seems poor Dave couldn’t do anything right and I found myself getting frustrated with him over the silliest things. I realize in retrospect that it was the result of being tired and feeling cruddy but I never ever want to be rude to anyone, especially my family. Yet another reason to take care of myself. I want to give them my best and being sick prevents that on multiple levels.

Eating Healthy Isn’t Enough: My vertigo is mild due to an issue with my inner ear. It might not have really affected me at all except that I’m anemic. Since I eat fairly healthy and take my vitamins it never occurred to me that my iron levels were low. When I found out and added red meat into my diet I could tell a difference almost immediately. I’m reminded that maintaining your goal weight isn’t enough, you have to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs.

I Am Blessed: So, so, so blessed with my health. This issue has affected me for a while but it’s going away. While I’m in the midst of it I’m so aware of people who have chronic illnesses. I’ve felt sad because I couldn’t exercise or drive my car but the worst of it passed and there are so many people who will never be so lucky. Good health should never be taken for granted and I am reminded how blessed I am to have enjoyed it for most of my life.