Aside from overindulging in a ‘healthy’ assortment of delicious, artery-clogging food, I spent my entire Thanksgiving fellowshipping with loved ones and reflecting on how truly blessed I am. Meanwhile, many people spent the majority of their time waiting in never-ending lines for doorbuster deals instead of taking the time to appreciate the valuable blessings they already have (and that especially goes for all my melanin folk who should’ve been boycotting Black Friday this year). But that’s a well-deserved read for another day…
Anyway, my health is one of the main things I’m grateful for. As cliché as that statement may sound, for me, there’s more depth to it than you could ever imagine.
My health means waking up in the morning and being able to rise out of the bed without any help. It means being able to speak clearly. It means being able to walk down the block without feeling extremely over-exerted and defeated. Or being able to get up on my own after I stumble. It means being able to dress myself and style my hair. And it means looking in the mirror and being able to actually recognize the person staring back at me. For me, my health represents my victory over a severe condition that once limited me from doing all of these things, and more.
Two and a half years ago, I graduated from the illustrious Howard University (b.k.a. the Real HU) feeling like the next chapter of my life would be spent in a coffin instead of a cubicle. Towards the end of my senior year, I had begun developing symptoms, which included severe fatigue, muscle weakness and swelling, and literally right after I crossed the stage on May 12, 2012, my condition began taking a turn for the worse. What was supposed to be the happiest and most exciting period of my life was instead filled with depression, misery and anger — mostly, at God.
After graduating, I returned home to Michigan with my parents, since there was no possible way I could live on my own. After being admitted into the hospital and a month of waiting on my test results, I was finally given a diagnosis: dermatomyositis (pronounced dur-mat-oh-my-oh-sigh-tis).