How I Began Healing During a Pandemic

by December 2020

It was 3 years ago. I was bouncing around town delivering marketing materials with one of my clients. Then it seemed that literally the next day – although probably not absolutely accurate – I got sick. My Paramedic husband said I had all the signs of that current year’s flu (2017), so I waited it out. For two months.

When I didn’t improve, I finally made a doctor’s appointment. But they had no idea what was wrong with me. They just wanted my blood. All the time. Anytime anything was wrong with me. More blood, more blood, more blood. I had too many symptoms for them – or their computer software – to comprehend. Basically, I think I was just overwhelming them. Each one started out eager… and then they kind of gave up on me.

Two and a half years later…

I suddenly began hemorrhaging so badly that the doctors wanted me to get a blood transfusion. They prescribed iron for the acute anemia, hormone pills to stop the bleeding, and electrolyte water for replenishment. We agreed to wait 24 hours to see how my body responded to these remedies rather than going straight to the ER.

Luckily and to my relief, this combination worked. But then a strange thing happened: My appetite came back after those two and a half years. AND I went from being a decades-long vegetarian (and barely eating anything during this period of time due to having no appetite) to craving hamburgers and very crispy bacon (animal lover guilt sets in).

Yet while I seemed to be feeling more like myself again, I suddenly developed sleeping disturbances where I either could not fall asleep or could not stay asleep; not falling asleep until 3am or waking at 1am. And that’s the short story.

So I started taking an herbal supplement to help me sleep, which was recommended by a friend. Lo and behold, it seemed to work. It wasn’t perfect sleep, but it helped. As well, I continued to notice myself feeling better overall. Was it the herbs? Was it the iron? Was it the hormone pills? Was it my increased appetite? They’re all so connected, it seems impossible to figure out exactly what caused what. Yet while I love mysteries, I was especially loving feeling better.

Anyway, one night during all of this, I had the worst night’s sleep of my life – cold sweats, moaning, groaning, and needing to rock myself to sleep. About halfway through the night, I started to feel my entire body tingling. It would last a few seconds, stop, and then return again. I thought: Either I’m dying… Or could it be…? That I’m actually finally healing?!

After eventually falling asleep for a few hours and upon waking the next morning, I wasn’t immediately miraculously healed. Yet I felt this combination of “events” might possibly just be the beginning of the end of my mysterious chronic illness. [I have kept this to myself until now because I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up – mine included].

Now, a few months later: I still feel better. It bears repeating: More like “myself”. There is huge relief in that.

Am I still stressed? Worried? Somewhat traumatized from nearly 3 years of experiencing a debilitating physical illness? YES. But I’m doing the emotional/mental work that has resulted from all of this, and I’m working on being patient with myself and this random-seeming journey.

Relief. And Gratitude.

If you or anyone you know suffers from a chronic illness, undiagnosed illness, or chronic pain, we have a new support group at Middle Way Health (via ZOOM for now). See Chronic Illness and Pain Support Group for more…

[Photo credit: Melanie Noel Light]