Taura Barr: Recovering What You Have Lost After Major Illness
It took a near-death crisis for Taura to find how she really wanted to live.
TELL US: What are you looking for in life and how are you finding that in your recovery process?
February 24th, 2013 changed me forever. It was the day I died….well almost.
I was 12 weeks pregnant with my fourth baby and hadn’t been feeling well for about a week. I was short of breath, fatigued, and had an aching back. Each day my symptoms were progressively getting worse, but I ignored them because I was so busy being ‘busy’ that I didn’t have time to take care of myself.
Turns out I had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in my lung) and I’m told that if it had lodged millimeters to the left of where it did I would have died. In some odd way though I did die that day; at least a part of me did. And it has taken me almost 3 years to recover.
My life has taken a complete 180 from where I was prior to February 24th, 2013 to where I am today. Early in my recovery I was scared, anxious, angry, and felt alone. I couldn’t believe this had happened to ME. I felt stupid for not seeking care and like no one was really hearing what I was saying when I was speaking.
I have learned a lot about myself and how I interact with others since that time and recognize that this experience was necessary for me to wake up. But early in my recovery, I made a choice to seek wellness, and if I hadn’t had the support I did while recovering I may have made a very different choice.
It is hard to choose happiness and well-being, especially when you feel cruddy; but believe me when I say it can be done with practice. Just like runners train for a marathon, you have to train your brain and your emotions to think positively and it won’t happen overnight. You must be intentional with your emotions and learn how to control them. Many people think they have this figured out (I did!).
The only way to regain what you have lost is to figure out what you really wanted in the first place. I can tell you that this is different for everyone. There is no secret formula to getting your life back on track after major illness, you have to figure out what works for you. I had help along the way from family, friends and colleagues and I value these moments because they helped me to transform my spirit, so that I could ultimately transform my mind then by body.
If you are feeling lost after a major illness, please know that this is normal! Crises are an opportunity for us to re-evaluate our life path and the choices we are making. The actual definition of crisis from the Merriam Webster dictionary implies that it is a turning point or a stage that will determine all future events.
I spent a good year after my pulmonary embolism feeling lost; but I didn’t really understand what I had lost…..it wasn’t until I started working on myself and my inner feelings and emotions that I discovered that what I had lost was the appearance of control. I love to be in control and when I’m not, I feel awkward (just ask my husband he will tell you this is true!)
Prior to my illness, I thought I was in control; but I now see that my world was controlling me. I was living a life that I thought I was supposed to be living by our current standards, and it almost drove me into the grave. I have been a nurse for almost 12 years and I didn’t know how to take care of myself. So many of us fall into this trap and it makes our recovery from major illness almost impossible.
So please, if you are feeling lost after major illness seek help and ask yourself what is it you want in this life. Do some inner work to get stronger and then go after it, with all your heart and soul. I promise you will find help along the way, if you are willing to listen.