If you’re anything like me, you’ve taken your health and your life for granted. I’ve always strived to be the best version of myself but sometimes I forget and I fall short. I work long hours, rarely ever say no, and take care of everyone and everything except myself. Which let me say, was very stupid of me. Yes, STUPID! I forgot to take care of the most important person; me.
Today I was reminded of just how important it is to take care of ones own self and live your best life. I mean we only get the one and even it’s a loaner. When caught up in the everyday tasks of work, school, obligations, we become a different version of ourselves that’s frazzled and coming apart at the seams. Women today, myself included, try to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect worker bee, the perfect homemaker, the perfect every-freaking thing. We neglect our passions and doing the things that give us peace and happiness. But we just cannot do it all. We have to face that cold hard truth.
Back in February I began to let my health go. I didn’t run as much, I worked too many long hours, I was signing up trying to do too much. I began to notice a rash that I just didn’t really have time to piddle with. I put cream on and went about my business. As the weeks went along, it started to grow. So far as it was on my chest and my underarms. It itched like the dickens and I wasn’t really sleeping well. I decided that I needed a change in my diet and started eating healthier but not really exercising. By the second week of March, I was becoming really concerned as the rash was growing worse and it started to burn. I couldn’t even wear deodorant! I switched over to baby soap, cut out lotion and perfume even.
A trip to my dermatologist was in order and basically I was told it was an allergic reaction of some kind. Here’s some steroids and a bill for $20 for your troubles. The meds seemed to have started working but my sleep suffered. Steroids keep you awake. Between my dad and mother-in-law both being in and out of the hospital that week and then Chris not feeling well, I came down with a really bad head and chest cold. Fevers of 102, chills, and severe insomnia put me down for a couple days. I kept taking the steroids and some OTC medication for being sick. Somehow amidst all that the steroids stopped working. The rash got worse and by the time I was at the end of my prescription I was sleeping maybe two hours a night with an itching, burning rash that was blooming out of control. It had spread so fast. Another trip to the dermatologist proved for a skin biopsy and different meds. Oh and now I have low grade fevers on and off. Lucky me.
After about 2 more days, I wound up in the ER thinking maybe I had strep but with them telling me the same thing. Here’s steroid and Epinephrine shot (worst experience ever), something for upset stomach and again more steroids. Oh and call your derm on Monday for a follow up. Beyond frustrated with how I was felt to be made stupid, I left. All I wanted was to be able to sleep. Sleep more than a couple of hours. I’ve worked in the healthcare field all my life and I know that’s how you heal. With rest. But my body wouldn’t let me. And the steroids just kept coming. I began to panic. WebMD here I come. Word to the wise, don’t ever do that you’ll just psych yourself out and end up thinking you’ve got some flesh-eating disease and have a few months to live. The stress is simply not worth it.
A follow up call with my derm and yeah here’s some stronger steroids, nearly put me over the edge. Still reeling from the EPI shot effects, with zero sleep, constant itching and burning, and now the body shakes, I was losing my ever-loving mind. As night turned into day, my husband sat by my side tried to console me. I was breaking apart. I cried uncontrollably begging God to make it stop. Praying for sleep that wouldn’t come.
Finally I got in to see my PCP and he gave me something like a psycho neurosis drug to help me calm down enough at night to sleep and a big fat steroid shot but sent me to a new derm downtown. Luckily I got in that very day. They prescribed more steroids but this time a stronger dose and an ointment that wouldn’t make my skin burn like a forest fire. I slept all the way home just because my body was shutting down. That night I was able to take the meds and sleep. Sleep like my life depended on it, which it really did! Or at least my sanity did. I knew I had to stay home the rest of the week. Work a little here and there. But rest, rest, rest. Catnaps throughout the day became the norm. And last night I slept without waking up. A whole 6 hours!
Today, I felt great. Better than I have in weeks. And then it struck me that God had been telling me to slow down, hence the first sign of the rash. I was burning the candle at both ends, trying to be and do it all. Now I know I can’t. And honestly I’m ok with that. Being sick and not getting better makes you think about your life and how you’re living it. Who am I living my life for? Is it everyone else around me with my endless obligations? Too much work and not enough me time? I realize that in order to live my best life and be the best version of me, I need to make time and do the things my heart and soul loves. Things that make me happy like running/working out, volunteering, bible study. All that other stuff will get done eventually. Making time for myself is becoming a priority. I want to live my best life.
How are you really living your life? Is it YOUR best life or someone else’s version?