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  • Writer's pictureChristine Powers

Markers of Health: A Calibrated Celebration

One. One vial of blood. I was in tears at the lab because I needed bloodwork for no particular reason except it was a physical. Tears of joy. Just one vial. Routine, baby, rouuuuu-teeeen.

Two years ago to almost the same day, I had pokey veins, and 14 vials of blood were drawn from the back of my hand (absolutely not pleasant) to desperately (and expensively) try to figure out what the f*ck was wrong with my body and mind (and spirit).

I had been sick. Very sick. 9 specialists, 1 lost income, 3 hospital visits, 2 surgeries, 1 biopsy, 3 CT scans, 2 MRIs, 1 ambulance ride (with the lights on), and 20 weeks of blood drawn every goddam week. TIA-type attacks, dizziness, nerve pain, tinnitus, shooting pains, searing pain in the head, waves of pain in the middle of the night that I simply thought I would not survive, hearing loss, traumatic brain injury presentation, slurred speech, exhaustion, and fatigue. I was gone. Just GONE. My brain and body would not function.

Pouring from a water kettle into a teacup was super complicated. Who knew?

There were days that winter when it was too complicated to think. Making a cup of tea was too complex. So I would sit in my pajamas and stare at the mountains covered in snow. Listening to an audiobook was too complicated. Watching TV was too stimulating. Soft music was a stalwart companion. And those mountains.

Eleventh Mountain range in Johnsburg, NY

Those fourteen blood vials bore fruit. Finally, we got answers. Undiagnosed chronic Lyme disease and a rare bacterial infection called Tularemia (a Level 3 US Army bio-weapon) were wreaking havoc with everything. These pathogens are evolutionarily designed to keep you ill, but not kill. Their aim is to try to fit in and feed off of you as much as possible. The bugs ruled my world.

My "back to 90% recovery" would take another 8 months, and still, I have "herxing" weeks now, but only giving one vial of blood is a massive celebration of good health.

I am grateful that I can consistently facilitate and mentor, drive, take walks, still sit in wonder (and cognitively understand what that actually is), be a wife and mom and friend, and have deep and meaningful conversations. I have grown in wisdom and acceptance. I understand the loyal companion that my body is. We (I mean me and my body) both just want to LIVE. I am back to spinning beautiful, eclectic offerings through Asa Adirondack.

And I will take it.

If you can walk, talk, stand, sit, interact, smile, laugh, move, cook, clean, think, and read, then CELEBRATE your health. Celebrate what you CAN do and what you HAVE. I do, every day. And especially when I gave one vial of blood.

P.S. Most of us have had a significant health challenge at some point in our lives. This can be such a great teacher and gift. I invite you to share a story below because we are all wise guides and can learn from each other. Please include one thing you have learned that you would love for others to know from a personal health challenge.

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