the other side of me

Today was my first day back at work after 8 weeks. I think that’s a record for me. I have never been away from work for quite that long, especially not for illness. It was a strange feeling returning to the place that, for the past 8 years, has been my home away from home. Strange in the sense that everything was very normal; everything being the work and the people. Nothing about the place had changed, but something was definitely different. I think it was me.

Those moments still live vividly in my mind. I remember it being a quiet night. I was sitting in the corner of my bed, staring into the darkness of my room. For three weeks, I had spent every minute of every day being cross-eyed. Doing anything that required my vision was extremely difficult. Day after day, I suffered headaches. I had gone for 2 blood tests and 2 MRIs, and there was nothing else I could do other than wait patiently.

I’m the kind of person who always looks at all possibilities of a situation and then plans for the worst. After extensive research on my illness based on the information I had on hand regarding my health, I knew that in the worst case scenario the cause could have been a tumor. It was something I couldn’t rule out until I got some results.

That night, as I sat in the dark, a series of thoughts went through my head. I remember thinking to myself that if it really was a life-threatening illness, I would be ready to face the journey ahead of me. I was even willing to accept that this could eventually be the end of my life. I would’ve really liked to have been able to spend the remainder of my days doing some of the things I loved; traveling to see the world, taking photographs of beautiful things, enjoying time with loved ones, even just reading. But at that time, I couldn’t do any of that. Even if I had all the money in the world, I didn’t have the one thing I absolutely needed to do those activities. And that was my vision.

After that night, something changed. The girl who had spent half her life chasing after death realized she was afraid of dying. It had never occurred to her because taking her own life away when she wanted to (or at least when she attempted to) always gave her the feeling of control. But when she was faced with the idea of her life possibly being taken away from her, not by choice, she no longer had that control. And losing that control was frightening. It was like holding your life in your own hands, knowing that at any time someone could come by and take it away from you. Terrifying.

I didn’t end up surviving a life-threatening illness because it didn’t turn out to be one. I was just threaten by the thought of what could have possibly killed me. Ironically, I think it was that thought that saved my life. I guess I’m a survivor after all.

(Photo courtesy of Anna I. Azucena)

i’m back! :)

It’s been just over a month since my last post; strange how so much can change in 30 some-odd days. I remember exactly what was going through my head at this time last month. Let me just say I am glad that it’s all over now. I’ve been very excited about being out and about again, so rather than talking about the illness I was dealing with for a month and a half I’m going to leave that for my next post and talk about what I’ve been up to post-illness instead.

As some may know, I had a baby shower to plan for Anasha on Sunday, May 16th. I was very VERY lucky that I had gotten better just in time for the big day. It was one of those events I really didn’t want to miss. Luckily, I was able to leave the house for the first time in 2 weeks just 2 days before the baby shower, and in those 2 days I ran around like a mad woman trying to get everything together. Thankfully, my co-host and I managed to pull it off and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I know I had a great time just being among people again. I completely indulged myself in the celebration and didn’t have a chance to think about myself for even a second. THAT felt really nice.

On Thursday, I made a special trip downtown to the Accreditation Office to have my photo taken. As you may have heard, Toronto will be hosting this year’s G20 Summit at the end of June. There has been a lot of buzz about it in the media over the past couple weeks, especially concerning the security for the summit which is promised to be massive (with good reason). Since I work directly next to the Metro Toronto Convention Center in what they call the “red zone”, I’ve had to submit my information to the RCMP for a background check in order to be accredited. The application process was pretty simple. It was finding the Accreditation Office that was difficult because the office was a “secret location” in the core of downtown Toronto. When I arrived at the given address, there were no signs that indicated where the office was. I only found out, after asking security, that the entrance to the office were a set of white doors on the outside of the building. No signs, nothing. Standing on the inside of the white doors was a security officer. Talk about “top-secret security”.

After I got my photo taken, I met up with Omar since he was in the area. He managed to convince me to go on a spontaneous trip to High Park. We spent about two hours walking the park and I got to take some nice pictures. Unfortunately, not all of them came out that great because we were there in the evening and the sun didn’t provide as great a lighting as I would’ve liked. Plus, I was quite disappointed at the fact that I missed the blooming of the cherry blossoms this year; I guess there’s always next year. It was really nice to finally enjoy the outdoors though.