Trauma is the great equalizer

I wrote the post that follows in January for someone who asked me to write about my experience.  He did it so that I would keep healing – knowing that I process as I write.  It wasn’t until I saw this quote at TEDx last week that I realized I had given him permission to share my writing, but hadn’t yet given it to myself.
One of the distinctions of trauma is that there is living life before the trauma and then living life after wards.  This is very true for me.
Health is more than Health Care
My entire life I’ve been healthy.  Save for the one time I broke my finger.  For thirty years, I was lucky to live without disease, allergies, and aliments.  I was so lucky in fact that I took it all for granted.
Health was something that my mother scheduled for me until I moved out, and then reminded me to schedule.  Health was something that needed insurance, something my father made certain that I always had – or harped on me until I got it for myself.  Health was all about keeping off the pounds, it didn’t matter what I consumed, how I treated my body, or if I had enough rest.  As long as the scale didn’t move, I was healthy.
It was in this perspective that I glided into my thirties – simply, taking my health for granted.  When my husband and I decided last year that it was the right time to start creating a family, I just assumed it would be as smooth as all of my health before.  I wasn’t concerned about my stressful job.  I wasn’t concerned that I woke up each night at 3am.  I wasn’t concerned that what I ate and drank affected my body.  My health would just be there.  Pregnancy would just happen.
Last year, I suffered two ectopic pregnancies.  Both ruptured.  Both required surgery.  One was particularly life threatening.  It was devastating for all the reasons we understand, but particularly for me, because now I no longer had that perfect record of health.
The doctors explained what happened as “bad luck”.  It is the diagnosis that I currently have today.  However, in the three months since my last ectopic, my entire perspective on my health has changed.  No longer is it simply about health care, or the flaws in the system of Alberta Health.  Rather, health is now occurring for me in each choice I make about how I live.
I am a type-A person, and I don’t believe that bad luck is a diagnosis.  Perhaps, the system will give me another one as I journey through doctors and health centres.  But that may still be months away.  What has changed for me is what I am doing to take matters into my own hands – today.
Late last year, I quit my stressful Executive Director job.  I’m taking on a part-time role.  I took the advice of an acquaintance and went to see an acupuncturist.  I took the acupuncturist’s advice and read a book on Chinese medicine.  I’m taking that advice currently and monitoring what I’m eating and drinking.  I’m also staying present enough to listen to my body.  I’ve committed to present myself to the world in a new way –  one with greater authenticity.  I’m exploring my hobbies.  I’m writing.  I’m being myself.  And I’ve devoted this entire year to “getting healthy”.
Coming from a place of taking my health for granted & assuming it would be there, I realized that I wasn’t even aware it was my responsibility.  There would be doctors, insurance, and health systems for that.  Now I realize it’s all in my hands -that the outcome is directly related to what I’m doing to create health in my life.  What happened to us may end up being a case of bad luck, but for my husband and I we’re committing to creating health in our life.   We don’t have the answers, but already feel more powerful than before.

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