Birthdays are collectively a time to share your life with others. It’s a time to celebrate the highs of life and the joy of acknowledging someone’s existence; not only because of their life they live but the impact their life has on yours.
I write this as I’m listening to waves crash onto the shore, feeling the sand between my toes and I’m even being a little naughty and having an adult beverage that I’ll most likely pay for later but right now it’s heavenly. I’m physically in a different physical place than my friend as she’s in a press conference wearing her signature Nine West peep-toes. But my mind is with her as I’m so grateful for a gift she gave me that she doesn’t know of yet.
Two days ago I was standing outside on the deck of a really amazing place. I was slathering on sunscreen and wearing the biggest sun hat that you’d think I was on my way to the Kentucky Derby. My phone rings, I miss the call and return it once I was settling into a relaxing writing session. On the other end if the phone was a dermatologist that took two separate skin biopsies from what seemed to be shingles but it wasn’t, it’s Lupus.
The blessing and curse of this is that now I know what I have. The curse is that I have to figure out how to get my body healthy so I can begin to heal.
I won’t lie to you and say I took it well. I took it horribly. I felt tears running down my cheeks the second she said it’s Lupus and I had to repeat it to my husband. I pulled myself together and called my mother and texted three women that I work closely with just so they’d know.
While I’m fearful for the impact it can have on my body as a chronic disease I was crying because I’m frustrated about the situation because I just want to live the life that my mind wants to have without medication and countless boundaries. But as my mentor told me and I have to remind myself of quite often with my illness, “It is what it is.”
In all of this I’m grateful to have a friend that took me under her wing almost 14 years ago that was willing to teach me everything she could to make sure I could be successful; professionally and personally. No one told her to, she just did it out of the goodness of her heart to give back.
If you’ve ever met my mentor, Tonya York Dees, you know that she has the best laugh, hilarious stories, with a huge heart, compassion, and she’s a tough cookie. All things that are uniquely her own even though many can fall under the same categories, none are like her. She attracts the masses and I have had the privilege to meet these people through her and this crew of angels helped me throughout the health challenges that I’ve faced throughout the last four years.
She connected me to an angel named Soozie. This phenomenal woman got me into the Cleveland Clinic without having to wait a year, I was seen within 90 days of requesting an appointment. Soozie has also given me so much love and advice throughout her journey with health that will forever impact mine.
She also connected me to another angel named Soon. This phenomenal woman had my labs and skin biopsy appointment within hours of my request because an infectious disease doctor thought that I could have a fungus growing within my heart; this wasn’t the case and thus the lupus diagnosis instead. I’m not sure if it’s the best opposing diagnostic result but it’s what I have; it is what it is.
Throughout the years I’ve come to learn that friendship is about support with room for personal evolution and compassion for our individualized journeys that run on parallel paths.
Friends can be the lighthouse when you’re on a boat in the most treacherous sea as they help you get through a storm that you didn’t think you’d survive.
If this angel didn’t exist, I’m not sure what my life would look like without her. While I’m not with her today as she is celebrating, I am with her in spirit celebrating how incredibly grateful I am that she exists within this world and in my life.
I’m taking a step back and looking at the map that I have to take when I get home knowing that it will be difficult at first but I know that angels are surrounding me and helping get through this storm.
The greatest gift you can give in life is friendship and love. The highs and lows wouldn’t be as smooth in my life without friends.
“No (wo)man is a failure who has friends.” – It’s a Wonderful Life