#HAWMC Day 19: “Post a vintage photo of yourself, with a caption about the photo and where you were in terms of your health condition.”
How many get to have a picture like this???
Me: 21 years old. Sitting upon my lap is my eldest son, who will turn 18 years old this year.
My dad’s mother.
My dad’s grandmother.
The matriarchs…all of us.
My connection to all that has come before me, and the potential for all that is to come in the future. Bloodlines. Family trees that became an orchard.
This was just a year after “The Night.” Itself, a possible trigger for the commencement of my autoimmune snafu by all things extreme and traumatic… of brutal sexual trauma and attempted murder. Alone. Parents stationed a half a world away in Alaska.
Here, I have overcome, at 21, already having to have my mother committed to a psychiatric ward instead of attending my Frosh Week at Carleton University. I have survived a brutal attack. I have adjusted to having to be a single parent. I have commenced logistics for removing myself from social assistance in order to continue my education…
The stress is hard. Logistically. Factually.
I had no idea of what was yet to come.
I look back at that time and don’t understand how, in fact, I made it…or, “why” I would have wanted to make it. I’d found solace in the Women’s Centre of the university, but still couldn’t sleep. I alternated between periods of terror and a busy-ship that keeps my mind’s thoughts at bay.
I had a son. A bloodline. A reason to move forward.
An extraordinary journey through extraordinary challenges.
My skin started first…showing signs of a malar rash that was continually prescribed medications that simply caused my skin to slip off of my face. No one considered an autoimmune disease.
I was constantly “bone-crushingly fatigued”…in order to differentiate it from being “tired,” as a life as mine might have dictated.
I could still excuse it away. Logistically. Factually.
No sign of diabetes…although years of having to eat whatever I could buy that was on sale and/or cheap NoName…my fresh food was reserved for the child I’d borne…it was only a matter of time. “Fillers”…breads…high carbs…eat…don’t eat…
I look at this photo with still the pain of loss of my grandmother who, upon being given her own timeline, held me in her bed as I wept for the impending loss of the greatest woman I have even known.
I look at this photo and I see strength…perseverance…endurance…blood that runs richly through the genetic veins I bear in their stead.
HAIL THE ANCESTORS!