Its my 30th birthday, and why I’m not mad about it.
Most people when they turn 30 years old either have one of two reactions. They either break down crying realizing that their youngest years are over or they take on the fact that with thirty years on this earth comes with it a greater sense of self, confidence and the ability to take on anything that comes your way. For some this awareness comes much later in life or never at all, but for myself I’m going with the latter that this turning 30 thing might be a new beginning.
For those of you that don’t know me or my story, I have been living in a car for the past five months after having to leave the east coast and drive cross country to a drier climate due to severe issues with Mold illness for the past six years. This began after moving into a renovated textile mill in December 2008 that was unknowingly a “sick building”. I lived there for four years before discovering that the building had been making me very ill the entire time i lived there and that I had developed what is known as Chronic Inflammatory Response syndrome as well as chemical and electrical sensitivities. I then moved into another moldy home and lived there for two years before finally testing it and realizing I was not getting well there due to the high mold levels that were present there also. Its vitally important to have no mold in the home in order to heal from mold illness. I became so sensitive to mold afterwards that I was no longer able to tolerate 99% of indoor environments. So up until this point we have been staying in the car and working on detoxing until my reactivity goes down enough that I can once again tolerate living indoors.
If you’d asked me ten years ago, I never would’ve guessed that I’d be spending my 30th birthday living in a car, but as the saying goes…hindsight is 20/20. I can see now that this experience is helping to shape me and my life into the person that I believe I was meant to be. I also believe that its shaping my life in a direction that I never would have gone in had I not experienced Mold illness and Chronic Lyme disease. Here are some of the most significant lessons I have learned during my 30 years here on earth, and especially during the past six years dealing with chronic illness.
Never ever ever give up. In life we will go through hard times. Sometimes immensely difficult hard times where it feels like we have no choice but to give up. But one thing i have learned is that no matter how difficult life gets and what it is that’s being dealt with,there is always an answer and always a way out if you would just continue to hold on, pray and have faith. Even when you feel like you can’t go on any further or make one more step, make that step and keep going. As Thomas Edison once said, ” Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.” The past six years living with chronic illness,ive had many days where i felt that i could not go on one more day. This is common for those living with neuroimmune illnesses such as Mold Illness (CIRS), Lyme Disease, CFS/ME, MCS etc. due to the intense suffering these illnesses can cause. However I’m glad that i never gave up and will continue to fight until I’m well, because i believe that things can turn around no matter how bad they look. When i feel hopeless, one of the things that helps me the most is trying to redirect my thoughts to what it is that I’m thankful for. Just yesterday my wonderful friend June brought me enough cooked food to last me a week. I have to eat a special diet and cannot cook while staying in the car. She also paid for a doctor’s visit and has spent hours talking with me on the phone and being caring and supportive. I have been blessed to have met some very caring friends like this during this difficult time. I believe blessings like this come from God and that is his way of encouraging me to continue on towards my goal of being well. Oftentimes the answers do not come all at once,but rather in smaller segments and i have had to learn how to be very patient throughout this process. There were many days i lost my hope to the point that i lived in emotional,mental,spiritual and physical torment everyday for years. Its been like riding an emotional rollercoaster. During those days,the only thing i could do was breath and pray. However i knew that if i continued on, that eventually i would find my answers. I am still in the process of doing that and have many days i struggle, however, i now feel that each day is a step closer towards healing. For anyone that feels like they just can’t do this anymore, you never know what is just around the corner. One day you could wake up and discover a protocol that is just right for you and your healing…so never ever give up.
There are difficult and mean people everywhere,but that doesn’t mean you have to let them effect you. One thing i know for sure is that there is always going to people out there who will seem like it is their sole purpose in life to bring you down. These people are toxic and do not deserve a place in your life. When i was younger i used to let these people hurt me to such an extent that it would consume my life. I experienced this from classmates,family and so called friends quite regularly. But i have learned forgiveness because I’ve realized that holding onto this only hurts me and not them. Forgiving them does not mean that what they did was ok,it means that you no longer allow it to effect you. As Oprah Winfrey once said ” Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different, it’s accepting the past for what it was, and using this moment and this time to help yourself move forward.” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned also how to separate myself from people that are drama causing and negative. This has been vital for me to maintain peace and joy in my life and is also extremely important for healing. It is not uncommon for those with Mold illness and Lyme disease to be mistreated by family members and friends due to ignorance and their not understanding the very real effects these illnesses can have on a person. Its important that they know that they did nothing to deserve this and that they stay focused on their healing, not allowing anyone to interfere with their health. One thing i know for sure is that people are going to always be who they are and i cannot control that. The only thing i can control is how i react to it.
Prayer is very powerful, especially when it is done with others. I’ve seen miraculous changes from one day to the next when asking people for prayer. There have been times I’ve felt so down and hopeless about my life and situation,like i couldn’t go on anymore. Then when i reached out and asked for prayer my whole perspective changed and i found myself renewed,full of joy and with the strength to go on another day. This was even during times i felt as if God did not care about me or hear my prayers. When i got others to join me in praying ,things changed. Especially during one day when i felt particularly hopeless, i reached out in desperation asking for prayer from my facebook friends,and almost instantly could feel the depression lift,almost like the dawning of a new day. He has provided for me, especially during these difficult times and i know that He will do the same for anybody that puts their faith in Him. That’s not to say that things are always going to be easy but i do believe as the old saying goes that they will be worth it.
The most valuable things in life cannot be bought. When you lose your health your perspective changes dramatically. You realize that the things you once thought were so important such as having a nice house, job or car, do not bring true fulfillment. Although they are nice to have, material things cannot bring true lasting happiness. The past six years, my main focus in life has always been to be well. I’ve realized that good health,family,friends and love in your life are some of the richest blessings one could ever have.
Going forward, i will be holding onto the hope that my answers for healing will come. I know the process has begun and that God is guiding my healing. I still have to address things such as the lyme disease and any co-infections which i believe I’ve had since a very young age and have profoundly impacted my life. This will be done once i get the mold under control through extreme avoidance and detox. Really all i want in life is to feel normal and feel like myself again, which i haven’t had since i was 14 years old. Despite my circumstances i believe this will happen and as it says in the bible “my latter will be greater than the former”. Here’s to another 30!
I would like to close with a quote i came across that i found very inspirational and I’m hoping that it’ll inspire someone else out there that is fighting what feels like an uphill battle as well.
” A seed must die and shed it’s outer shell before it can bloom into a strong and dignified tree. A flower must be crumbled and crushed before it is turned into a fine, expensive perfume. Grapes must be severed and trampled on before they are turned into an exquisite and luxurious wine. A soiled, earthly rock, when put through intense pressure and fire, become the purest forms of diamond and gold. The darkest hour of the night is moments right before the sun rises and brings forth a new day. An Eagle must disgrace and shed his feathers in order to rebew his wings with new strength and splendor…
…the most beautiful things in life are born from adversity, hardships and agony. If you are feeling abandoned, crushed, under pressure, trampled on, alone, damaged or broken…DO NOT LOSE HOPE. This is the moment right before you conquer your battles victoriously and become exactly who God destined you to be! XO”
I would not have been able to survive out here as long as i have without the generosity and kindness of those who have donated. Its been nothing short of a miracle. If you would like to help, please view my fundraiser here Thank you.