Battling for Treasure

It isn’t long since I discovered the most exquisite treasure…

Perhaps several readers are concluding at this point that I’m talking about my writing? Actually, I’m talking about what makes my writing possible.

And now I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

Over a recent six-day period I endured numerous medical appointments. Sometimes it works out like that. There was my yearly checkup. Resulting from that visit there came a blood draw, bone density scan, and mammogram. In addition, I had a follow-up visit with my pulmonologist.

Haven’t heard back about the mammogram, but I feel confident the news will be good.

The blood work was normal, which is good news and means I can continue as before in treating my thyroid. It’s a not uncommon problem for many and a largely non-issue for me since they caught it early.

An ongoing battle, but one I’m winning.

The bone density scan improved from the one two years ago! The first scan had shown some deterioration brought on from prolonged steroid usage necessitated because my lungs were failing, not from smoking (which I never did), but from a bacterial infection. The bone density improvement was because I embraced the advice I was given after the first scan: Don’t just take calcium, make sure you take the supplements far apart so your body can absorb the maximum amount.

There’s a limit as to how much calcium the body can absorb at once.

Yes, an ongoing battle, but one I’m winning.

My lung difficulties surfaced in 2009, put me in the ICU in 2010, and became a relapse in 2012. This time, though, the news was excellent. I’d hurried across the parking lot, up the stairs (not the elevator!), and into the office where my oxygen saturation was measured at 95%. At one time I was on disability, but no more. At one time I was unable to climb a single stair without assistance, but no more. At one time I was on 24-hour oxygen, but no more. I’ve fought hard to recover as much of my health as possible, and while there’s permanent damage to my lungs from the ordeal, I can do most of what I could do before the illness.

And I’m able to do more all the time.

Again, an ongoing battle, but one I’m winning.

What’s not included on the list above is the depression that dominated me for most of my life. It’s real, it’s insidious, and it’s scary. For more years than I care to recall it held the upper hand in our relationship.

I’ve long since given up on anti-depressants, for I’ve had severe side effects from every type they’ve tried, side effects that made depression look like a sunny day with flowers and puppies.

And then I vowed, “NO MORE.”

I came to realize that if doctors couldn’t help me then it was for me to wrestle that dragon to the ground and put out its fire.

Someone who was a great influence entered my life at that point. I learned that too often our perception of life becomes skewed because we allow the negative to stick, to linger, distract, and finally dominate until our bitter perception blocks out all else.

Before he left my life, Don gave me the tools I needed to correct course, and though the struggle sometimes returns, I know what I have to do to overcome it. For there are those who’ve suffered little and continue to suffer and there are those who’ve suffered greatly, yet move on.2013-08-12 06

The difference is learning and applying what was learned. I recognize now the true balance in life and not the perceived balance.

In the ongoing battle with my own demons I’m a victim no more.

I cherish the present because it makes surviving the past worth the effort and it paints the future in promise. Life, my life, everyone’s life, is a gift.

Life is a treasure.

8 Replies to “Battling for Treasure”

  1. What a moving, awe-inspiring post, Christina, and thank you for sharing with such honesty. I can relate to so much of what you talked about and couldn’t agree with you more. Remember, that in order to have raised yourself from your huge health challenges, you ARE strong and can accomplish ANYTHING in the writing world!

    • Thank you so much, Karen. I know that with all I’ve been through in my life that I’m a strong person, but it took a long time for me to understand that. I nearly scraped this post at the last, but reminded myself that the initial inspiration was gratitude, though, yes, I’m also proud of how far I’ve come. There came a point where I realized that if I could summon my strength to weather the bad then certainly I could summon that same strength to do good as a writer and a person. I’ve a ways to go before I fulfill that promise to myself, but I know I’ll get there. I thank you again, for you’re a great friend and have provided me with more support than you know.

    • Thank you. Don completely changed my life, for before him my self-esteem was nonexistent. Since then, not only have I grown as a person, but I’ve become better at recognizing those who add to my life as opposed to those who were a toxic presence in it. You’re a positive presence in this world, Angela, and will see great success in whatever area of life you seek it.

  2. Christina a beautiful post, I lost my dear brother to depression and I only discovered what depression felt like after losing him. I still wish he could have battled and beat his demons too, but it was not meant to be. I am so happy you found your way, what an amazing, inspiring and talented being you are, your words could help so many people on the same path thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you, Kath. I’m dearly sorry to hear about your brother. Depression is a lonely battle because it’s mostly fought on the inside. Too, at least in this country, people fear admitting its existence because they feel that they’re weak. Don literally saved my life. I’ve no doubt about that. None. But most people aren’t as fortunate as I came to be. What I’d most want people to understand—those seeking help—is that finding the “right” person to help you is nearly as important as seeking help, which is crucial. Just because someone is a trained professional doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you.

      • Christina I agree, my sister (who has Bipolar) has found a gentle soul who understands her mood swings and is so supportive, he is like her guardian angel. I am thankful for that and yes I miss my brother very much but I understand his battle more now and how he felt like it would never leave him. Thank you

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