Health something we take for granted until the day we no longer have it. I have been a relatively healthy person most of my life. I haven’t always taken great care of my body. In my early twenties, I experimented with a few things I never should have and that is a time in my life I’m certainly not proud of. But life is about experiences and what you take away from them. Every experience and the way you handle it speaks to who you are, or who you choose to become. Sometimes I feel as though my children saved my life. Knowing that I wanted children and the importance of maintaining a healthy body during pregnancy is what spurred me into leaving behind a destructive lifestyle, and focusing on ways to better my existence. After my divorce, I developed ulcerative colitis which thankfully after many years I was able to get into remission. Then I developed diverticulitis. I was on the verge of getting a portion of my intestine removed because of a perforation and a very persistent infection, but thankfully my surgeon wasn’t ready to give up and continued to treat the infection with antibiotics until it finally healed. Now I am very careful and watch my triggers, and I have been able to keep the attacks at bay. I’ve struggled with degenerative arthritis, but through the practice of yoga, I’ve been able to effectively manage that. A few months back I came down with what I thought were swollen glands. The weird part was I was having a really hard time swallowing. After seeing my doctor, I was told that it was not my glands but my thyroid. I went for a series of blood tests, which came out fine, however my throat was swelling so badly that I could only consume liquids, and even that was difficult. After a very scary and uncomfortable week passed, a second set of blood tests were done along with an ultrasound. The blood tests showed my thyroid levels were extremely elevated, and the ultrasound showed two suspicious nodules, I was put on high doses of steroids and a beta block for heart palpitations. The nodules would eventually have to be biopsied but because of the intensity of the swelling this would have to wait. I have just weaned off the steroids after almost three months and I still have a long road ahead. What was diagnosed as hyperthyroidism is now hypothyroidism, but my doctor doesn’t want to treat it as such quite yet. What caused the problem in the first place was a vicious virus that attacked my thyroid, and there is a slight chance my levels could stabilize on there own without medication. There is also a chance my thyroid is permanently damaged, or the nodules are cancerous. That is not the reason for this blog though. I think for the first time in my 57 years, I was really scared. I felt forced to examine so many things in my life. I am a worrier by nature, and that was one of the first things I had to address. Worrying is a useless waste of time, and for the first time in my life….time seemed to be extremely important. I realized just how precious and fragile life can be. My priorities began to change. I began to appreciate everything, both good and bad. I like to think I became a better person; a better wife, a better friend, a better mom, a better sibling. I tried not to sweat the small stuff. I tried to notice and appreciate sounds, and smells, and people. I let go of some of the toxic things I wasn’t even sure why I was still holding on to. I had to trust myself, but mostly trust my God. My faith grew deeper. To quote Tim McGraw “I took a good long hard look at what I’d do if I could do it all again.” It seems so silly to say it took all this to make me re-examine my life, but that’s exactly what happened, so I guess in a way I’m grateful for the experience. I am a different person today then I was before this all began. I still fall into my old habits sometimes, pessimism is easy, optimism is my goal. I try to look at the great things I’ve accomplished in my life and tell myself there will be a lot more to come. I look in the mirror every day and thank God for my eyes that show my reflection, the legs I stand on, ears I hear with and the hands that put on my makeup and dry my hair, for although the future is unknown….I sure know what a spectacular “present” I have! I will relish every moment.