Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meet Amber

Azubuike"the past is your strength"

They say that facing death changes a person for good.  Some people find god, some carpe diem their way through 5 credit cards a mistress and a brand new sports car. I've even heard of people turning criminal in some last minute attempt to financially make up for what they haven’t achieved in their life.  Unfortunately a lot of people shut down when faced with true adversity. They embrace the role of victim and self pity instead of personal hero, usually spiraling into a world of anti depressants and substance abuse. But I don’t judge those people for if you had asked me 4 years ago if I would be able to handle all that I've gone through I would have said “No way!” And even now people ask me “How do you do it? If I was in your shoes I would not be as strong as you are.” And I every time I tell people don’t say that. It was once told to me that you never know what you can do until you try. But I say you never know what you can do until you have to.

I had lunch with death 3 ½ years ago when I was diagnosed with polymyositis. Polymyositis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that causes weakness of the skeletal muscles. It ‘s found  in the same family as lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and all other forms ofmyopathies .  It’s an extremely progressive disease that causes severe weakness of the core muscles (hips, back, shoulder), and when advanced, total body muscle loss.  As luck would have it I have the rarest most aggressive and usually fatal form of polymyositis that causes a fully debilitating weakness as well as organ failure. At my worst I was so weak that I couldn’t raise my arm an inch from my side, I couldn’t sit up unsupported or I would just collapse over, I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow. My kidneys were shutting down, I needed a heart monitor as the heart is a big muscle that will soon begin to fail with this disease, I even needed help swallowing as my throat muscles were weak. I couldn’t do anything for myself. My hair was falling out, I had no appetite, I dropped 40’lbs in a month, I was soo weak and soo sick.   As a matter of fact every time I visit my doctor he politely reminds me that I should be dead. He says he’s never seen a patient survive this disease let alone recover as well as I have and continue to do. He calls me his miracle patient.

So what’s my coping mechanism you ask? What have I done with this free pass I’ve been given?  How has it changed me to know that death wasn’t ready for me? In three words…I woke up. I realized that everything happens for a reason. That for every action there’s a reaction and a consequence. I adopted the knowledge that everything I had done in my life had led me to that very place in time. Every decision I had ever made, every path I chose to take brought me here.   I had to take account for all of choices I’ve made in my life. Because then and only then could I begin to heal. You can’t move forward in growth until you understand your past. And I had a lot of demons in my past that I remained oblivious to. Sure western science will tell you it’s ludicrous to account physical illness with emotional health but, how else do you explain an otherwise perfectly healthy 21 year old suddenly falling ill. And more importantly why am I still here?  Clearly it wasn’t meant for me to die, because if it was that would have been happened way before I even went into the hospital. No, it wasn’t my time to go, just my time for a much needed wake up call.

I was never raised in a house that held much merit to western thinking anyway. My home was the kind where you held your nose and took down a spoonful of cod liver oil once a week to keep you from getting sick. And if you did get sick you had to sleep with potatoes or onions in your socks so by morning your fever was gone. I come from the school of thought that for every physical ailment there’s an inner imbalance somewhere. And that sickness should not only be treated on a physical level but also spiritual, for balance and harmony are the only true cure. So with that being said when those doctors came into my hospital room and told me I would never walk again and would probably have to live in a nursing home for the rest of my life my first instinct was not self pity, it wasn’t even anger but yet “Okay, how do I fix this.” I knew what I needed to do on a physical level but I also knew there was a lot of inner work to do.  I took a good hard honest look at the person I was and I did not like her. I was ashamed of her actually. I started understanding why certain things always happened to me. I understood why certain choices always brought me certain results. I realized that I was my own worst enemy and that in order to move forward in growth I had to learn what it means to truly love yourself.  Its funny how once you start being honest with yourself in your darkest truths it’s easy to forgive and begin the healing process.

I also realized that time is a very precious gift that must not be taken for granted. It’s not written in stone that everyone lives to be old age, which makes it even more of a blessing when you do. We can all go at any moment and when it is our time the first thing we will ask ourselves is “Did we live the very best life we could of lived?”  or “Was I the best person  I could have been?” for me it’s more of the latter. I believe our purpose on this earth is to evolve into our highest level of consciousness not just on a personal level but in regards to whatever our purpose is on this earth. Whatever your gift is use it and master it, use it to help others, use it till there’s no more breath in your body.  Live everyday as if it were your last. Soak up as much knowledge as you can and experience as much of this world as you can.  I don’t know about you but when I die I wanna be able to say I contributed something good to this world.  My gift is art, creative thinking and an endless flow of ideas (LOL). I’ve  loved and did art since childhood but it wasn't until I got sick that I became a serious artist. It would be the greatest sin a person could do to let a God given gift go to waste so I've made it a point to explore every idea that ever comes into my head... I have a lot of hobbies (LOL). I’ve also took to educating myself on as much I can. I spend my down time reading education books. I’m currently mastering herbology, Gemstone healing, alchemy, and art history. I’m also teaching myself how to sew and speak the Italian and Yoruba languages. I eat healthier, I read the newspaper, I stopped speaking I slang just because it’s “cool”, I dress with more pride and hold my head up high, I even smile for no reason. I don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t hold things in. I process my emotion as they come and move on. I don’t let men walk all over me anymore and I have NO problem being alone. I've stopped wasting money and started saving for a real future, I’m even developing myself in my spiritual beliefs.  Because that’s the kind of woman I've always wanted to be, well rounded, educated, and strong.

As predicted my spiritual growth has been synonyms with my physical. I am now able do everything but stand up from a low seated position on my own. Every day I continue to surprise my doctors and inspire a new report in the medical journal as well as surprise myself as I transform into a self realized woman. My dream is that I can inspire other women to love and cherish themselves as the jewels we are and strive everyday to reach their full potential. As I continue to have my own personal  “A ha” moments I will be sharing them on this blog with the hopes that my story can inspire at least one woman to take a closer look inside.

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