Today, as I sit in hospital on day 11 of my admission, I wonder how things will be different in a years time. Will my lungs be stronger, weaker, clearer? Will I have managed to maintain a lung function which I can feel comfortable with? How will I be coping?
As I am very fast approaching my 21st birthday, I can’t help but reflect. My past year has been incredibly hard. Starting with pneumonia and ending with a collapsed lung- not what an average 20 year old can report as their yearly “achievements”. I have definitely gone above and beyond at making this year the worst in terms of my health! When I look back at the past few years, I cannot believe the journey I have been on and how it has completely shaped my life in ways I never imagined. I feel stronger mentally, so much stronger in fact and I completely believe I would never have gained so much confidence without the knowledge that tomorrow is never guaranteed.
People say I am different now. Less afraid of what others think and more willing to throw myself into challenges. I have learnt that holding back is possibly the worst thing I could possibly do with my life and a waste of who I am and who I am becoming. At 20 years old, there were a tonne of things I wished I’d be doing, some of which have been achieved and others not so much. I’ve watched my peers excel and I’ve seen people participate in amazing experiences. Some would say I maybe haven’t been as fortunate as others, but life is unpredictable and I like to think I’ve done a pretty good job at overcoming all the huge boulders which have been sent my way!
I have however spent a lot of the year waiting. Waiting for answers for why my body is like this, yet still I remain fearfully waiting for the answers. All the appointments, pills, questions; could be argued wasted time, but I have every belief that in time it will have been time well spent.
People don’t often see me struggling and perhaps I feel afraid for people to see me in this way. I have made a promise to myself from now on that I will not feel guilty or ashamed of being unwell and I will embrace the truths of my illness. This year you will see me smiling, making memories and being myself. But you may also see me struggling to maintain positivity, feeling weak and relying on others to get by. I have decided that this is okay. Having crappy lungs is not glamourous so why should I keep forcing myself to pretend that it is?
I have made a lot of steps forward and I’m finally starting to feel proud of myself and my achievements!