Look at me! Can you imagine that I was practically paralyzed and useless 8 years ago?
Mr. TM, fellow TM's, and honored guests:
Let me tell you a life changing story of mine.
I was born to an ordinary family of 7, all being blessed with excellent health. The word "illness" was basically nonexistent in the family's dictionary.
I have always been a high achiever. Therefore, ever since my junior high school years, I hardly found myself sleeping before midnight. I studied hard, played hard, and worked hard all the time. I also volunteered in all sorts of activities that demanded time and energy. And, the older I got, the later I stayed up. Oftentimes I would even skip sleeping all together to get the job done, and done well.
If you think skipping sleeping is bad enough, add to that other ways I had been abusing my body with, such as: starving myself to death or eating like a hog, and countless, I mean countless, auto accidents that messed up my neck and vertebrae big time.
The biggest problem though was the fact that I thought this body had no limit. Yes, indeed, it had its limit and I learned it the very hard way.
11 years ago, a 2 story rental property of mine was burned to ashes by arson. Despite my husband's objection, I chose a local company to rebuild the house. It turned out that these so called "contractors" were actually con artists. They collected 90% of the money in 6 months, yet dragged their feet for 2 years with endless lies. Eventually, less than 40% of the job was completed before the company went belly up and bankruptcy was filed. At that time, the house had only bare walls, filled with problems that I learned later!
Needless to say, I was devastated and felt that I was the one to blame for the huge financial loss. I decided to take over the building project myself to minimize any further loss, even though I had no knowledge and experience whatsoever in building a house. Within days I hired another contractor, with my husband's approval of course. During the day, I stayed on the job site monitoring the progress, talking to the subcontractors, moving things around, sweeping the floor, trimming the plants, and dumping trash. I also rushed to a variety of stores on a daily basis to select and purchase all kinds of building materials. Each night, I would spend hours on the computer tracking this massive building project. The process lasted 7 full months, 7 days a week!
Finally, with the help of excessive tap dancing and Latin dancing for two weeks that caused pain and stiffness in my legs and knees and 96 straight hours of depressive TV watching in the sofa after 911, while thinking about my precious 20 yr. old son who had just started working on Wall Street in Manhattan a month before the event, my body gave up on me! All of a sudden, all my muscles became extremely stiff, painful, and powerless. In addition, all my bones and joints became totally frozen and unbearably painful. In other words, I became paralyzed and useless! I was bed ridden, yet couldn't fall asleep due to the extreme pain and stiffness. I couldn't stand up or sit down without enduring excruciating pain. Opening the refrigerator door or pushing the Microwave buttons became impossible tasks. I couldn't perform any house chores, neither could I drive safely. Was I depressed? You bet!
Everyday I was spinning my wheel all over town seeking all sorts of medical remedies, western and eastern. All of the doctors gave me the same diagnosis, i.e., Fibromyalgia. It's believed that the tremendous physical, mental and psychological stress beyond my body's limit caused my system to shut down and malfunction, for the protection of it. Was there hope for recovery? Doctors could offer no answer. They told me that many patients simply live with this dreadful condition for life!
I had always considered myself an athlete and a dancer. From elementary school to college, I competed in dodge ball, high jump, hurdles, pentathlon, ping pong, and basketball. When I was 18, I started weekly teaching of international folk dance which lasted 5 years. There was simply no way for me to accept the fact that Fibromyalgia would haunt me for life!
"I have to get better!" "I just have to get better!" Countless times in a day I commanded myself! For 7 long months there was no sign of improvement, despite my active involvement in trying yet another treatment. Feeling terribly desperate and frustrated, still I refused to give up! Finally, gentle movement in water gave me a little bit relief that lasted beyond a 24 hour period. I was so encouraged that I got in water everyday for several months. Little by little, I was on my way to recovery.
Am I fully recovered? No. Chronic fatigue is still with me and I have to orchestrate my daily activities carefully to allow lots of rest in between. Do I sleep well at night? Not really. Hopefully it'll improve as I require not as much rest during the day. Can I handle stress with ease? No. Any stress in life triggers the return of Fibromyalgia symptoms and I can sure feel it right away.
I don't volunteer to be an officer. I hardly give speeches. I often don't write speech evaluations. I don't because I must take care of my physical needs.
Am I happy with myself? Definitely! I beat the odds and managed to bounce back up from Fibromyalgia! Am I satisfied? Not yet, I will continue to work it to get even better.
IF THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY!