Here is a contribution from an educator, friend and community member, Jennifer Coccetti. She reminds us of the importance of persistence, and shows us how the support of others can help us get through even the toughest of times. Her story also highlights the many lessons and gifts that come from our most difficult journeys. Thank you, Jen, for your inspirational story.
Two years ago, I began my journey. It all started with a bad case of the stomach flu and after several Emergency Room trips, two ambulance rides and the most agonizing pain I’ve ever felt. I ended up in the hospital. Thank goodness for my mother who was with me in the ER. I otherwise would have been sent home yet again. She fought to have the doctors do something else. I am thankful she did!
Both a cat scan and a MRI were ordered. I wasn’t just dehydrated as they had been telling me. I had Viral Meningitis. I spent the next six days in the hospital, most of it in an isolation room with thirteen doctors on my case, unable to raise my head. Countless MRIs, Cat Scans, Spinal Tap, rebound migraines and a blood patch filled my days along with rest, rest and yet more rest. Nurses and doctors entered my room in gowns and masks. I was allowed to leave on the day my son left to go back to college. Some holiday break he had.
I spent the next three months unable to take care of myself. I was totally reliant on my family. Plagued by mind splitting headaches which intensified if I tried to raise my head more than a foot off my bed and vertigo that spun the world so quickly that I thought surely I would lose my lunch. My whole body shook with tremors and I was quickly losing hope.
Slowly I forced myself to spend more time upright despite the pain and utter exhaustion as my neurologist suggested. His other order was to drink lots and lots of water. I drank until I could hold no more. Still progress was slow.
Hope finally came in human form. First was my sister Amy bringing me her love and wisdom as well as the gift of Healing Touch. My second angel was Lisa. Her Reiki and caring attention turned me around. I began to see a huge improvement.
Three months later, I was ready to go back to work. The problem was I no longer had one. My job hadn’t been held for me. I was now unemployed. A blessing in disguise. Another three months passed. I became stronger and more sure of myself. And thank goodness, a job appeared. The rest is history
Every day I am thankful for the lessons I’ve learned from that illness. It change my life so profoundly. Yes, I may always have last effect from this illness. I may always have short term memory issues, a problem with dehydration and oddly enough, a cold sensation in my teeth. I can deal with those things. More importantly, this has allowed my heart to open wide to experience a world I might have never known. For that I am thankful.