I believe I’m blessed. Whatever hardship I went through was not more than I can handle and the resulting consequences weren’t without their lessons. I wasn’t tested just for the sake of being tested. I was given an opportunity to learn, early on in my life and my career, before I had too much to lose. I have learned to frame my outlook in life with this attitude and I think that has helped me deal with what I’m going to talk about next.
Simultaneously with my financial struggles, I was also going through some health issues that I couldn’t take care of immediately. A large part of this is due to the fact that I was unemployed, had no health insurance and didn’t feel like spending money on my health was a priority (not the best decision in retrospect). But another side of it was also the fact that I did not want to tack on another problem to deal with before I figured my way out of this one.
The problem was this. I was stressed and it was showing on my body. My hair was falling out and I gained a ridiculous amount of weight almost overnight. I didn’t gain weight like a normal person where fat is stored in the midsection and is difficult to get rid of and all that. I just literally swelled up everywhere. My face, my feet, my hands. I would touch a part of my body too hard and have a dimple there that would take minutes to fill up. This went on for two months before I finally secured a job with benefits and went to see a doctor. At first they told me I had hypothyroidism. Its when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones to balance your metabolism and causes you to swell up like a balloon. They put me on medication for that. That reduced my swelling almost immediately and got my weight under control. But further testing revealed that my problem was a lot more complicated. Apparently, my kidney was letting too much protein seep out and that was indicative of more serious problems. I had biopsies and got tested for everything under the sun, stds and cancers included. And what was finally discovered was a few things. 1. I had Lupus SLE (more about this later) 2. I had crazy anemia that may or may not have been linked to the Lupus (still trying to figure that out).
Like I said however, I think this is an opportunity to learn. Lesson one is to always take care of yourself. Even when you’re pushing yourself to the limit to accomplish big goals, its a good idea to be honest and in tune with yourself. Lesson two is just reinforcing my current state of mind. Never be at the mercy of an entity for your needs. If I had been the type to worry about my personal and financial health from the get go, I would have had an emergency fund to cover such expenses and not have assumed that my employer’s insurance will take care of me. Lessons learned.