What is this experience trying to teach me?
I went from living my normal, mundane life to having my world turned upside down in a matter of 24 hours.
Last Wednesday I went to my chiropractor for what I assumed to be a regular adjustment. Sure, I haven’t been in 6 months and life has been a little tense so I knew I was going to need some major work. However, I didn’t anticipate that this visit would turn my world upside down.
I woke up Thursday and everything seemed to be normal - until mid-afternoonish. Out of nowhere, I started to get a migraine.
I immediately reached out to the chiropractor and he told me “Well you had a rough adjustment, it’s the toxins, drink a lot of water, rest, and ice your neck.”
I followed his instructions and woke up an hour later absolutely wrecked - blurry vision, sharp pains radiating from my neck, vertigo, nausea, and absolutely incapable of thinking over the pain.
I drove myself to the ER. (Not my brightest idea but beggars can’t be choosers.)
Once I was taken back for triage (inside the 2-hour waiting room) the nurse took my vitals and tears were running down my face. She calmly told me to wait and she’d be right back.
Approximately .5 seconds later I was bum-rushed by 6 nurses in the hallway and I hear talk of “stroke”. Talk about adrenaline…
I was rushed back for an emergency CT scan and immediately put on a heart monitor and supervised by 3 nurses who never really left my ER room.
If I’m being completely honest, I still was not grasping the magnitude of the situation. Jillian (my favorite nurse) comes in with an educational paper on “Vertebral Artery Dissection” as she politely tells me they are admitting me.
Through all of the pain and intensity of this entire situation, I was honestly not privy to what was exactly happening. I guess I can understand why it’s important to always have someone with you when you are dealing with a medical emergency because I was not retaining one ounce of what these nurses and doctors were telling me.
Essentially, the chiropractor sprained the muscles in my neck (likely from being too rough during my adjustment) which ultimately led to a vertebral artery dissection. In layman’s terms, there is a small tear in the wall of the artery that runs parallel to my neck. This type of injury can lead to blood clots and stroke if not treated properly.
Nothing too serious, just something light to kickstart my weekend.
I’ll spare the rest of the details of my second trip to an urgent care, lack of sleep, and insurmountable pain to get right to the point.
I have taken on a new perspective in which when I find myself in the throes of some uncomfortable and unplanned situation I am constantly trying to ask myself:
What is this experience trying to teach me?
For starters, I pride myself on being a caretaker. Not only am I a single mom, responsible for the livelihood of two gorgeous children - but I also love to suit up and show up for all of the people I love in my life.
Along the way, I have honored this role over and over again but I have not honored myself by negating to practice the same level of grace, consideration, and care that I share with others.
Guys, I don’t even have a primary care physician, I’ve been in Florida for 7 years. I haven’t had an annual physical in almost two years. I’ve neglected to address my very present kidney issues and I mask these ailments by being on the go 24/7, focusing on mom life, indulging in my career, sponsoring women, filling my schedule as much as possible, limiting adult time, and never allowing myself to rest.
The lesson for me here: You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Life has humbled me over this last week. I feel as if the metaphorical rug has been ripped out from under me. The seemingly routine things I do - baseball mom things, driving/picking up Aryanna from school, laundry, cooking, straightening up the house, changing clothes, sitting by the pool, driving, giving Aryanna a bath, all the way to sitting down on the couch - I cannot do any of these things with ease.
You know that Pinterest-worthy quote: Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.
I feel that in my soul.
It was a few days ago that all of these things were just things I did - on autopilot.
If I don’t take care of the very basics - aka if my own self is not in order, I am no use to anyone.
I have to follow up with a neurologist this week and I’ve been told this is a slow, healing process. SHOCKER.
I am in excruciating pain, I’m not sleeping, and my appetite is not great - but it all pales in comparison to how loudly my ego is trying to berate me about how inadequate I am when my attachment to this “caretaker role” has been stripped from me.
This will be a process involving asking for help, resting when my body tells me to, sitting with myself, letting go of the illusion that I’m in control of anything, and a whole lot of humility.
On a positive note, I have one hell of a tribe that has circled around me and offered help (knowing I’d never ask) and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Be careful what you wish for. I can look at this daunting experience as God giving me exactly what I’ve been asking for:
Connection to all, attachment to none.
Thanks for allowing me to share my failures and triumphs in this space with all of you. I hope you all have a beautiful week and make sure to have some grace with yourself.