Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Journey Part II

Wednesday morning, a week ago, I woke up from my makeshift bed in the living room, wanting to be a polite guest, but feeling so terrible that I just wanted to roll over and go back to bed.

I was nauseous, and nervous that I might vomit any moment. My head screamed inside, pounding with pain from a migraine. It was as if a ten beers had been siphoned from a keg into my bloodstream the night before. But it wasn't alcohol that was causing me to feel ill. I knew full well, the ten hours I had driven the previous day were to blame for the way I felt.

My friend offered me a bite to eat. I passed, explaining I didn't feel the greatest. So my friend offered me a guitar to strum instead, and he started jamming on a mandolin. While I strummed, I deliberated, considering whether or not it was too late for me to take a pill and keep it down. I finally decided it was worth a go. I swallowed it down with some water, then admitted to my friend I felt like hell, and needed to crash a bit longer on his couch.

A couple of hours later I woke up again. Thankfully, by then, my sumatripton pill had worked its magic. After a bowl of cereal my friend suggested we "get lost" and do some exploring that afternoon. To be perfectly honest, the idea of exploring sounded terrifying. Yes, my headache pain was gone, but I still felt like a zombie. The heavy cloud of fatigue engulfing me, reminded me that I ought to take it easy.

But I'm a sucker for not knowing how to decline a friend's enthusiasm. So I reluctantly readied myself for the adventure, dreading the idea of more time in a car, and fearing the winding mountain roads might spiral me into motion sickness. I hoped the exploring wouldn't involve too much outdoor activity, but really, I had no idea what I was getting into when I got in his car, other than the possibility of Mexican food.

As we drove north on Highway 9, my friend pointed out the Blue River, where he had guided rafting trips the previous summer. We also spotted two bald eagles, which underwhelmed me in their appearance. I was more hoping we'd see a moose, but no such luck.

After 45 minutes on the road (which proved to be less winding than anticipated, and more glorious in scenery) we arrived at a small town called Kremmling, and pulled into Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant for a late lunch - so late that we were the only two patrons in the restaurant.

To my relief, after lunch we simply returned home to my friend's place. There were no side trip hiking excursions or other, that I knew my body would hate me for if I attempted when I already wasn't feeling well. And I had hopes, that I would wake up the following day well enough to go snowboarding in the Colorado mountains. I didn't want to waste away energy that could be applied the following day - on my birthday.

Later that evening we rallied with some others at Red Mountain Grill in Dillon, CO. There I found myself sitting between a professional poker player and a lesbian, which made for fascinating? conversation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Journey

Yesterday morning I woke up in Vegas.

I rolled out of my couch bed and headed into the kitchen where I helped myself to some coffee. As I took my first sips of caffeine, I noticed a postcard clipped to the side of the refrigerator. "Your Story Matters," the 4 x 6 card insisted. I was somewhat surprised to see this particular postcard amidst the other memorabilia displayed on my friend's refrigerator. I wasn't the one who had sent it to her, but I knew of its origin, and have the exact same card sitting on the base of the ledge of my mirror back in Michigan.

The postcards were distributed at the #Storyline conference I attended in Chicago this past October. We were encouraged to fill them out and send them to a few of our friends to encourage them in their life journey. Confession: I never got around to filling my cards out...

But over a Vegas dinner date? meeting with a successful business man the night prior, I was reminded, my story - my written words - matter. This man who had read my book posed the question, "How many people need to hear your story?" Then preceded to answer his own question. "Countless," he insisted.

He believes that countless people need to hear my story and to read the book I've written. Although this man isn't romantically interested in me, for whatever reason, this man is interested in seeing me succeed as a writer and speaker. He believes I have a knack for writing, and he isn't just saying that to be nice, or to flatter me for ulterior reasons. Already he has offered me invaluable "pro bono" consulting, and even agreed to meet with another man on my behalf to help me along in my journey.
Yesterday I drove east on the 70 though Nevada, Arizona, Utah, before crossing over into Colorado.
With my health being off the drive kicked my butt, but thankfully I didn't feel the impact of the drive until this morning. (That's the part of #CFS that's called post-exertional malaise, which is why I can often do an activity and feel fine in the moment, and don't feel shotty until afterwards. And sometimes, I don't feel shotty at all, which makes everything I do a gamble.) Today I woke up to a migraine and the words, "Huh, I've never seen snow on a surfboard before."
Thankfully, I'm staying put for a few days, to recuperate from the first half my journey and to celebrate my birthday with the friend who taught me how to surf 13 years ago.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Miracle Manor II

I arrived in the desert well before my check in time, so I took the time to explore the downtown. Although I had been to Palm Springs on several occasions, I never knew its downtown existed. My mission to find a yoga class to crash, led me to a delightful street of shops and restaurants.

As I moseyed about an art gallery, I considered the paintings and how "the one" I liked at age twenty-two would have enjoyed being in my shoes. I noted which paintings I think would have been his favorite, and deliberated as to whether or not they were my favorite too.

A few blocks down I was delighted to see a shop with the same name, both first and last, of the man I dated most recently. I snapped a couple of photos, and went inside just because it had his name written all over it. It was a men's clothing shop, and although he and I had parted ways months ago, there I was, thinking of him as I meandered about the store with no intention to make any purchases.

Further down the strip, I stopped in at an architecture and design museum to browse its gift store. The only reason I was in the desert was because of my architect friend from New York. He was the one who had arranged for me to stay a couple of nights at this retreat center he had helped design and build in the 90s. The only reason I stepped foot into the museum was because his area of expertise was now of interest to me.

On my return walk to my car, I noticed a park sign that spelled out the last name of my mentor friend. Again, I took a photo, just because it reminded me of her. By that point I realized that I wasn't walking alone. No, there wasn't anyone physically standing beside me. But the influence and fingerprints of those who have walked with me previously have stayed with me.

And so has Africa. In locating the Yoga studio, where I decided to return for 7 PM candlelight yoga

To be finished...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Miracle Manor

Yesterday I left the ocean and headed inland for a night before arriving in the desert this afternoon. Some time ago my NYC architect friend designed portions of a retreat center in Desert Hot Springs. After catching up over the phone last week, my architect friend insisted and arranged for me to stay a couple of nights at this retreat center. So here I am, at Miracle Manor. And, I'm still in need of a miracle.

Before I parted way with the Pacific, I sent an SOS out to God on the sand. "Heal Me, Please" are the words I penned with a stick that I found on my "final" beach walk yesterday morning.
During my time in Newport Beach I underwent treatment that I had hoped might restore my body and brain back to what it was before I was infected with malaria. The treatment center offered valuable information that will help me navigate next steps regarding my health; however, they couldn't offer me a cure for the CFS/Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease that I face.

After spending Monday morning with my mentor friend Kim, and she sharing with me how well the same treatment was working for her husband, Monday afternoon I received the news that my body didn't respond to the treatment. Rather than recommending a month-long course of continued treatment, Dr. Alex informed me there's something going on with my body that is causing me to be resistant to this treatment. Typically it helps people to at least some degree, but not the slightest with me. He suggested a few reason why this might be...  and I'll continue to explore those reasons when I return to Michigan.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Day 2: Brain Break Through

Yesterday I said my good byes at noon.
By 5 PM, I was at my new "home" in Newport Beach, which is only my home until next Tuesday morning. That's when I'll once again load up my Corolla and venture to my next sleep spot. Which, as I write, I have no idea where that will be. I may, perhaps, say my good byes to California next Tuesday morning. Or I may scramble over the next few days to find a few places to stay so that I can remain out this way through my birthday weekend. We will see.
My old "home" wasn't even my home, but for some reason it was tougher than I thought it would be to turn in my keys to the stomping grounds where I've laid my head on an air mattress since arriving in California on January 10th.

I've never been a fan of good byes. (In Works... to be finished...)