Continued from Flood Lights...
As I internalized the brightness of the rink despite the lateness of the night, I snapped out of my Zamboni trance. My eyes shifted from the surface of the ice to the lights overhead, drifting slowly from the floodlights in the park to those shining down from the skyscraper heavens of New York.
A set of floodlights shone down from on top of a nearby skyscraper, illuminating the heart of Bryant Park. I remembered those floodlights well, because I remembered staring up at them in July, wishing they could somehow heal my body.
It was a hot, summer night and after parting ways with my friend Matt in Central Park, I made my way down to Bryant Park. A film that I didn't see had just finished playing on the big screen on the big lawn - the same spot where the ice skating rink resides in the winter time. While people started clearing the green, I laid out the blanket from my picnic dinner, and sat down in the middle of it.
I stretched my legs out in front of me and pressed my palms into ground behind me to lean back upon. I stared up at those floodlights, wondering if I was ever going to get better, and fearful that my time might be running short. I pleaded with God right there and then, with the intense light shining down on me, "Please God, please, just heal my body." I couldn't understand why he would let Satan win by physically destroying me.
By then it had been well over two years that my health had been poor and by June my health had declined so much that I really did begin to think I might die. To make matters worse, the process of securing health insurance delayed me from seeing a doctor again until the end of July. With the pre-existing condition rules in effect, I knew I couldn't be diagnosed with anything until I had some sort of catastrophic medical coverage to financially protect me and my family.
What I didn't know then is that I had been unknowingly starving my body of oxygen. I didn't realize that in 20 years of being a runner and being a woman, I had depleted nearly all my iron stores, and that my body was no longer functioning properly because of it. I just needed more oxygen; I just needed more iron in my system. Once my *ferritin level increased from 4 to 40, THEN I would be back to feeling me.
My eyes circled down from the floodlights on top of the skyscraper to lights on the Christmas tree behind me. I smiled, recalling a night out with my friend Melissa a few years prior, and stopping at the park's Christmas tree for a photograph. I smiled also, knowing that my body is finally getting better. This time as I stood in the nightlights of Bryant Park, I felt alive, and hopeful for the future God has for me - whether that be back in New York or elsewhere, I'm confident my 3 years of sub-par health is coming to a close as I step into 2014.
* Please note, most doctors tend to only be concerned with your hemoglobin level, but your ferritin level (i.e. your iron stores) also matters immensely. Women should aim for a ferritin level around 50, even though "normal" is considered by some labs to be anywhere from 10 to 150.