After four months of being in the hospital - with the help of great medical care, wonderful family and friends, and an enormous amount of support - I became stronger and healthier and miraculously, my kidneys partially regenerated. I had been given a gift—a chance to reenter the world once again. But it was in this moment, when I started to recover, that the real challenge began.
I see now that my toughest battle was not the one for my life, but to reclaim my life as normal. I spent my first five years (post diagnosis) clinging to the idea of an expected course – graduating with my class, working full-time, pushing my body beyond its capabilities. My health quickly became my last priority and everything from doctors appointments to picking up medication fell dangerously to the wayside. I had taken the gift of recovery and run myself right back into the ground.
I had been so focused on tangible goals of success and ambition, that I had forgotten the most important, the most delicate, the most coveted objective of all – health. As my health quickly declined, I realized that if I wanted to live a long life, I needed to make a drastic change…so I did.
I decided that if my life was about my health, then my health would be the muse of my career. I began a blog about the adventures of living on a no-sodium diet, documenting the tasks and cooking experiments that take up much of my time. The blog grew into more articles about wellness, and I quickly realized that the daily health chores that once seemed roadblocks to success had become my greatest assets. I had a defined niche, endless amounts of material, and—most importantly—I was doing something that would not only benefit me, but also others on a similar journey.
I thought that by listening to the needs of my body, my achievements would be stunted. But the results have been quite the opposite. I am now the best version of myself, with the energy and mental capacity to accomplish more than I ever could before. Once I stopped trying to be ordinary, I could begin to approach my illness, my career, and, ultimately, my life by seeking the extraordinary.
Come back tomorrow for the 3rd and final post: Beating Odds and Eggs.
Learn more about Jessica
Visit Jessica at Sodium Girl
Part 1: The Detour