Friday, April 18, 2014

The Nightmare: A Year Later

Sometimes even the worst nightmares can be blessings in disguise. On April 19th, 2013 I firmly believed I was going to die.

I do not think I will ever be able to fully express the terror of the Nightmare. The terror of being in the hands of people you are supposed to trust with your life while being fully aware that their actions are putting your life in increased jeopardy with each passing second was awful. When I think back to that day, that week, and the months afterwards, I still cry. My nightmare on April 19th, 2013 was the scariest day in my entire life.

But guess what?

The scariest day in my entire life opened up the doors to some of the most amazing blessings. What started out as a nightmare turned into blessings and a dream come true.

That also makes me cry, but for different reasons.

I am married and living in Malaysia right now! I definitely did not see that coming! During the months after the nightmare, I was so incredibly sick that I was incapable of living on my own. I could not drive. I had stopped eating unless food was physically set out in front of me and someone watched me eat. I was afraid of passing out walking from the couch to the bathroom. My mom dropped absolutely everything to move in with me for two months. My life and the lives of those closest to me were instantly re-prioritized as the focus became "Keep Amber alive."

Professionally, it was a very humbling experience to walk into HR and state, "Hi. I have a rare, invisible disease. I know that the plan was to move me to country x in September 2013 but because I almost died on April 19th and I'm still incredibly weak. I cannot go in September. And even if I could, country x is not safe for me due to health issues. I understand this will interfere with the head count. I know this was not the original plan, but if I go to country x, I am afraid I could possibly die."

Thankfully, I work for an absolutely amazing company that was willing to delay my international assignment to March 2014 and instead of country x changed it to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We hand picked Malaysia for the medical care which was and has been a blessing.

Oh, did you catch the fact that I'm married?! I would have never realized how much my husband loved me if not for that phone call on April 20th, 2013. For those who know me well, they know that I rarely pick up on social cues and am not very intuitive when it comes to relationships. I had to almost die to realize that the most amazing man had been by my side for the past five years loving me and caring for me. Now that I have claimed him forever, I plan on avoiding any more near death experiences.

I also know that I would not be able to survive in Malaysia right now without him. Managing my health is definitely a two person job. My mom began the tag team, but has moved to a support role as she has passed the responsibility onto my new husband. But do not for an instant believe that our marriage and our relationship is always focused on my health. That could not be further from the truth!

The nightmare also inspired me to launch clearly.alive.art during one of my darkest days. I had already been using the name Clearly Alive but my nightmare ignited much more of a passion to prove to myself, to prove to my Adrenal Insufficiency, and to prove to the world that this "diseased" girl is far from dead no matter how many times her body tries to kill her.

I am Clearly Alive and will always fight to remain so. No nightmare will ever silence this voice.

April 2013, I thought I was going to die.
March 2014, I am exploring waterfalls in Malaysia with my husband!

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