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Love, love, love

>> Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I am in love with the world. I'm finally feeling like my normal self again, and let me tell you - after two weeks of feeling like a zombie, feeling "normal" feels pretty great! There really is nothing like feeling crappy for awhile to make you appreciate your health and your life more than ever. I've been thinking a lot the past couple of weeks about things (as there was not much else to do). Thinking about where I am in life, what I'm doing (and what I'm not doing), who I am and who I could be, what I'm grateful for and what I wish I could change. Here's a couple of things I came up with:

- I am extremely blessed. I have a great family and friends who love me for exactly who I am. I am married to the love of my life who thinks I'm the funniest, cutest, most lovable person ever (not saying I am, but hey - if he thinks I am, who am I to argue)? I have a full-time job with great benefits, a roof over my head and food in the fridge, and even though sometimes it's a struggle to pay the bills, I know that I will never have to live on the street or worry about many of the things a lot of other people have to worry about. I live in a country where we don't have to worry about footing the bill for our hospital stays, where you can become whatever and whomever you want to be and don't have to censore yourself. I have more doors open to me and possible pathways to follow then some people could even imagine. I am truly, truly blessed.

- What else do I know? I know that with all these blessings, I have not yet fully realized my true potential or my true self. I know that perhaps knowing yourself, really knowing yourself, is a life-long pursuit. Maybe it is not until we are old and dying that we realize who we really are. Is that what wisdom is? Not knowing things, but knowing yourself? I think I'm coming to the realization that maybe the answer to the age-old question "what is the purpose of life" is simply this: to know who you are. If you know who you are, everything else will fall into place. If you truly know yourself, nothing can stand in your way. And if you know yourself, you would be able to connect with life and thus connect with others on a deeper level every day of your life. You would naturally strive to serve your family, your community, the world in an effort to make the world a better place after you are gone. Hmm, this is getting quite existential, so let me reel myself back in here. In order to better realize my true potential, there are some things I have now realized I need to do. These are all things I've thought about for awhile now but have simply come into sharper focus over the last couple of weeks:

* I'm going to go back to school. I don't know exactly for what or in what capacity, but I miss learning. I loved school. I missed school. I need to open my mind and kick-start that brain again!
* I'm going to volunteer. I need to better serve my community and make use of my time in a more productive manner. I am great at consuming and taking, but not so great at giving. I'm thinking I'll volunteer either at a hospital or an animal shelter.
* I'm going to do a triathlon. I have no idea how or when, but I'm going to do one within the next year.
* I'm going to meditate and pray. Every day. No matter what, no matter how busy I am. Everyday for at least half an hour.

As the lyrics go in one of Gavin Degraw's songs (he's amazing): "Oh, this is the start of something good -don't you agree? I haven't felt like this in so many moons, you know what I mean?"


The good, the bad, and the sickly?

>> Friday, May 23, 2008

Sometimes life throws something at you that catches you so off guard it's almost unbelievable.

Two weeks ago, I'm sitting at home after work checking my email when suddenly I get some pretty strong chest pains (by strong I mean strong - imagine someone reaching inside your chest and squeezing your heart - that's what it felt like). I've had chest pain before, but it's always gone away after a bit so I figured it was nothing serious and just tried to ignore it. Well four days later it's still there so my hubby insists on taking me to the walk-in clinic. The doctor at the clinic then insists that I go to the hospital emergency room as anything to do with chest pain can be serious. (I was still telling myself it was nothing). We then spend all night in the ER only to be told that they don't know what's causing the pain but to follow up with my family doctor.

I go back to work a day later (after again telling myself that it's nothing serious and I probably just pulled a muscle or something), but then the next day I have to leave work in a hurry as the pain has gotten worse and I suddenly feel really sick and out of breath. I rush to my doctor's office and they send me to the hospital again to get an echo-cardiogram done (essentially an ultrasound of your heart). Turns out they think I have something called "Pericarditis" which is when the tissue lining your heart becomes enlarged and inflamed. It not only causes chest pain, but makes you extremely tired and generally just feel really sick.

I've been back to the doctor's a couple of times and today was at St. Mike's Hospital in Toronto to see a cardiologist. He thinks it's pericarditis as well, although they can't really be 100% sure as it wouldn't necessarily show up on tests and blood work, etc. He said that normally it just goes away on it's own and all you can do is rest and take medication for the pain. I'm feeling a bit better today so I'm hoping that I'm back to my normal self in a couple of days, but then this past Wednesday I was starting to feel better but took a turn yesterday and was feeling horrible again (so bad I almost went back to the ER). They did do some more tests today as there is a small chance I could have something else, but hopefully it is what it is and will go away for good soon!

Being a relatively heathy, young person, this whole experience has been a bit of a slap in the face for me. I literally went from feeling totally fine to completely sick in a matter of days and haven't been able to work or do much of anything except sleep and lay on the couch for almost two weeks! It has taught me though that you should never take your health for granted 'cause you never know when that could change or something could happen that would change your life forever.

If ever I needed an incentive to start exercising regularly and eat healthy, this would definitely be it. Pericarditis is classified as a heart disease, so for me to be 28 and have had heart disease is a pretty scary thing. I know it could have been much worse (and hopefully I'm at the tail end of it) but it's been an awakening, that's for sure.

You never know how much time you have left. Live the life you want today, tell the people you love that you love them today. It's cliche, but tomorrow may not come and the present moment is all you ever have!


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