I am that woman


By: Fela M'tima



Explaining your illness to the people you love can be painful and confusing. What hurts even more, is when they question your illness, and though they don't intend to, you feel attacked.
We feel attacked because we have become so absorbed in our disease, that when it fails us, we feel we have failed too.

I had what I thought would be a successful surgery. My hopes were so high, I made commitments for the first time in over a year. I brought immense change within my life, determined and confident that I would be able to achieve these things. Of course, I thought to myself, I can go live my life, I can do these things. I wanted to help my family, I wanted to do good and feel purpose. 
And though this family was far from where I was, I pushed myself to get there. It might of been because subconsciously I was afraid that if I didn't take this leap ASAP, I wouldn't be able to at all. I ended up being right. Very fucking right.

In less than two months, I set off on a journey, which I thought would be filled with life, promise, and the goals I had for myself. And within two months after that, I found myself waking up unable to get out of bed and unable to help anyone. Like slamming the breaks before a car crash, everything froze, panic hit, and I knew a disaster was approaching. I had moved miles and miles away from my safety net and here I was, without one.

There's a few things you can do in these situations. 
You can run back to where you came from, forget you even tried to do good and forget you tried to start a new life free of disease (since apparently it's stuck with you). You can admit defeat, move yet again, but this time to your mothers house, states away and even farther from where this began. Or, The option I decided, to continue with the steps that I made and figure it the fuck out.

One night, through a mist of tears and frustration, my boyfriend came out and asked questions I was daunted to ever be asked, "Why did you think you could do this? Why did you even come here?" All my feelings of failure hit. It seemed he couldn't even believe in this moment that I had come out here to help my family. He didn't know these questions had already swam through my mind since I first realized I couldn't do what I had set out to do. I asked myself, Why did I set myself up for this? Why did I believe this disease would leave me alone for a while? Why was I so fucking stupid? Why am I here?

Its been almost six months since my move and everything has flipped inside out. With disease blocking a lot of clarity from my life, I can't answer a lot of my own questions anymore. Whether I'm here or there, I'm without a doubt, sick as fuck. While everyone else my age is wondering who to be, where to be, and what to do, I'm wondering where will I be able to stay remotely sane while this chronically ill. I've realized to stay sane, I have to stop asking these questions. I've made choices, and whether they were "right" or not, is not the point. The point is I am where I am. I am still sick and I need to keep moving forward.

When I boarded that plane almost half a year ago, with joy, zero fear, and minimal pain, I was on top of the world. I was the woman who conquered it all. I was the survivor. The fact that it was just a small glimpse into what I will have one day, is okay. For a moment, I had it. I set off to change my life separate of the illness that before that moment, had determined every aspect of my life. I will be that woman again. No- scratch that. I am STILL that woman.

To  have had that moment, I am grateful. To know now that it is possible, gives me hope. To be where I am right now, is a fucking blessing for the simple fact that I am here,
I made it.