Thursday, January 1, 2015

Page One

Christmas is about a new baby - new life being born into the world for salvation and hope. New Years is a chance to be reborn into our best selves...a time to start over.

We all have big ideas on day one. Mine is rather simple: be as true to the title of this blog as possible.

I have always been fiercely independent to a fault. After all, I moved to both Mexico and Bali  - knowing no one, and having only a minimum understanding of the language and culture. But in both foreign lands, I managed to rent an apartment, work, and make great friends. I embraced the challenge of navigating new environments... in a way I think these experiences helped me handle living in the crazy world of Orphan diseases.

But when my body turned against me - first with Carcinoid cancer and then a mysterious autoimmune disease -  I had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn't make it on my own anymore; I needed significant help completing even the most mundane tasks. It was tough giving up my prided independence, but I'm grateful and lucky that my friends and family were right by my side every step of the way.

Now that my symptoms are managed, it's hard to justify making time for myself when I have so many other responsibilities at school and home. For example, something as routine as getting my hair cut and colored went undone for six months, and my day-to-day boots were so worn out that they had holes in them. For me, it was easier to pluck out gray hairs and wear thick socks rather than make time to take care of these simple tasks.

Before my diagnosis, I had made a New Year's resolution to be more glamorous - like Jackie-O. Instead of making a new resolution, I'm reviving my old one. I will be kind to myself. I resolve not to see taking care of myself as a selfish act, but rather as an act of self-love that I deserve.