As the summer session is coming to a close, I find myself doing a lot of reflecting on how I’ve grown up these last few months, this past year.
This time last summer I was in the throes of dealing with a dog that I was petrified of because her deteriorating health and increasing aggression was literally a recipe for disaster. My health symptoms were out of control and I was having diarrhea and/or vomit every single day, most days several times a day. I was miserable, and on top of that, I was juggling a work/school load that I couldn’t even imagine possible now.
I was taking four negotiation classes for my Masters degree, one law school class at night, and working full time at an insurance law firm. I don’t know how I did it, and I think a huge reason I didn’t fail at any of my school or work obligations was because I ignored my health. I even remember talking to an associate at that firm who had just found out she was pregnant, and how I had all these tips and tricks for puking that she thought were brilliant.
Needless to say, it’s literally been night and day how I was last year to how I am now. Now, thanks to some keen observation by my boyfriend listening to an ad on the radio about diarrhea of all things, I’m on a new medication that breaks down proteins and adds enzymes that my body doesn’t have. He even surprised me last night with a book he got called the “Quiet Gut,” which is a recipe book for people that have IBS (here, here!) and other stomach issues/disorders/unpleasantries. After nearly two years of literal suffering, it’s kind of fun to joke about my gut being a literal piece of shit and how it’s lack of skill has caused me so many problems.
Separate from the gut stuff, the house stuff is coming along, slowly but surely. We submitted a list of material specifications, which means my boyfriend and I spent hours looking up floor and wall finishes, amongst many other mundane things like toilet paper holders and sink styles. As odd as it may sound, I think my impatience with the house has subsided because I’ve been so busy in class and working this summer. I’m at the clinic by the early to mid-morning, and then work until 5 or 6. I then grab a quick dinner at a deli or brewery nearby, sit in class for two hours, and then by the time I shuffle home it’s nearly 10pm. There’s been little to no time to stress about the stuff going on elsewhere in my life, and maybe that’s why I feel so zen right now.
I’ve also learned a lot doing veteran law-I even cried over a case that my clinic didn’t take because it had too many mitigating, complicated factors. I’ve spent the majority of my days talking to guys and girls who put their lives on the line, got broken down in more ways than one, and now they’re looking to rebuild their futures with healthcare and education benefits. I’ve learned to look at my own disabilities with pride and that they really don’t define me. Yes, they are a part of me and I cannot ignore their impact on my daily strides, but they don’t box me into “can’t’s and shouldn’t’s.” I’m saying yes to more challenges and things that might have otherwise frightened me these last few years, like driving…but I know the more I step outside of comfortable situations, the stronger I will be become and the easier it will be for me to define myself outside of my past.
So as to not burst any good karma floating around, I’ll cap this post as “in hindsight, I should have done less and appreciated what I had more,” but now that I have more appreciation for what I do have, I am allowing myself to be content doing less.
It’s all about give and take, and from here on out, I refuse to take anything away from putting my health as a priority…because really, without it, life is super shitty (gut jokes intended).
Spoonie Adventures in Books, Beauty, & Bullshit
I'm a twenty-something year old recent law and business school grad living with a chronic health condition. Follow along on my shenanigans.