From a young age, I knew I wanted to do something big. There was a time that I thought being an actress, or a princess was my destiny. But, something began to take hold–I wanted to see the world and I wanted to do great things with my life. But, those great things weren’t in the thought of being known by others or fame. I wanted to help others. I dreamed of the peace corps, working for National Geographic, anything that took me around the world to help people.
Thirteen years ago, I was planning to do just that. I knew without a doubt, I would be going to school in the fall of 2002 and I would become a missionary. My goal in life had always been to reach out and help others in some way. I had already visited England and France. Then, I took a mission trip to Jamaica and then Ukraine. Those mission trips opened my eyes to where I needed to finally go with this inner longing I held. I wanted to continue traveling the world and as I did, I would live as others lived. I would meet them where they were and I would learn more from them and myself in the process.
I would connect.
I would experience life through their reality and during that, I would give of myself in any way I could.
In March of 2002, I took my second missions trip to Jamaica. I love Jamaica. It is a beautiful country filled with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. The mountains were especially dear to me as that is where we spent the majority of our time. While there, we could only bathe in the river, because a shortage of water. I picked up a parasite from the river shortly before coming home and I lost almost fifteen pounds in one week. It was the worst week of my life. Believe me–it was horrible.
But, I never fully recovered even after that week.
I was twenty-two years old and had my life planned. I was ready to move forward with my destiny. Then, as life always does, it shows you different–it shows you the direction you should be going though it seems foreign at the time.
My stomach issues became worse. I developed a limp that I attributed to carrying heavy things at my job, when I should have pushed them on a cart. Then, other people noticed the limp. My mom asked me what was wrong, because my foot kept dragging like it was a dead weight. I told her I just pulled something. That had to be it, because I had no other explanation for it. I pulled something and it would work itself out.
My mother, the nurse, strongly encouraged me to go to the doctor anyway, because I could have back issues. She didn’t want anything to happen and it’d be best to get it checked while I still had the insurance I did. (I would no longer have it once I went to school in the fall.)
It was now summer and I had an appointment with a nurse practitioner because my doctor couldn’t see me as soon as he could. The one thing I must say is this–that nurse practitioner will forever be in my heart because of the compassion he showed me that day. He had me do some motor function tests, then he said, “Okay, lets get you up on your toes.”
That sentence and his and my mother’s expression will forever be engrained in my mind. We stood in the hallway of the doctor’s office and they both watched me. I couldn’t do it. I tried, and I tried. My mother’s face dropped and the nurse practitioner looked at me with empathy. I knew fear covered mine. I took for granted the ability to tell my body to do something. You never think about doing things. You just do them. But that day and several days after, I couldn’t control my body. It would no longer listen to me. The one thing I never thought twice about, betrayed me. It gave a whole new meaning to “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”
The nurse practitioner set an appointment for me to see a back doctor, because (as he said) something was going on. I felt like saying, “No shit something’s going on. I can’t stand on my tip toes.” I had always walked on my toes. It was something I enjoyed doing as a kid and I still did it as I grew. But now, I couldn’t.
Many tests later, many that I’ve no need to share on here, because it became redundant for me, so I can’t imagine how it would be in a blog post. So, I will give you a quick rundown of what I had–several back x rays, a CT, colonoscopy, 6 MRIs, a spinal tap, more motor function tests, etc. I also should mention I went through several doctors during that time as well. I had worked in the medical field up until this point and I had never experienced it quite like this. I must say–there are some excellent doctors out there. And, then there are some not so great ones.
I decided to forgo moving away to attend college, because I had become so ill, I wanted to remain home. My job was no longer available, so I transferred to a new one. Everything I had planned for my future, slipped through my fingers.
I lost hope. I decided to just attend a local community college in hopes of figuring out a new future for myself.
Then, on November 22, 2002, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
I didn’t know what to do. The trials I went through with getting a diagnosis changed me. I looked at the world differently. I went a different way in life. Everything I believed changed for me during that time. I still held out a love for people and for doing things for the world–but it became pushed down. I pushed it out of sight and out of mind. It’s hard to focus on changing the world when you can’t even get yourself out of bed. It’s hard to think of the big picture when your legs stiffen and you wake with tears from the pain.
But, I did. I made myself get past it. I changed things.
I continued at the community college and took several different classes, trying to figure out what I wanted. Art and photography came back to me as did writing and philosophy. Those classes were monumental and though I didn’t know it at the time, they planted seeds of inspiration and reminders of who I am.
Ten years, falling in love, having a child, and figuring out more in my life, brought me to here. The end of 2012 was a game changer for me. More about that can be found in my very first blog post. But, what happened that year was an awakening of this need inside me to create and to connect with other people through it. I think that is why all of us do what we do, we creative bohemians. There is something within each of us that is clawing to get out and sometimes, those bad things that we have happen in life are the learning experiences to help us break them free.
It may not seem like it at the time–going through the shit life throws at you, but when you look back on it, you see how different things would have been had the bad not happened. Had I not gone through what I did and still go through to this day, I would not have the understanding and cherishing of life experiences that I do. I am not one to focus on the things–items of life, but I focus on living. I live my life to see the spark of life in others. I love to see others embrace their own creative nature and truly live their lives.
When you have seen or experienced the crappy part of life, you have a new value for the better parts. But, you also learn that those crappy parts, aren’t the end if you choose to live fully and authentic. Had I not been diagnosed with MS, I never would have met my husband, or two of my best friends. I never would have introduced those two friends together. I never would have married. They never would have married and the children we each had would not have existed.
I never would’ve written this blog.
I never would’ve written the books that I’ve written.
I may never have been a missionary, but because of my writing, I have met people where they are–from all around the world. I’ve met several individuals and made some amazing friends through writing. I’ve heard their stories and they each touch me with how open they’ve been with me. I believe had I not gone through what I have in life, my drive to write and to create wouldn’t be what it is now. Sure, it would be there. But, I don’t believe it would have been the me I am now without it.
I still have my moments. It sucks at times. But, I don’t let those times pull me down. I adapt and I move forward with life.
I look forward to releasing the third Bohme book, because it was indeed therapeutic for me to write. It was my healing. You all are my healing–those of you that have taken the time to connect with me. I adore you.
Much love to all of you that took the time to read this.
“It will be okay. Everything will work out as intended. At some point, you will face adversity and trials–such is life. But, you can never allow those things to stop you from living.”
journal entry, undated