Closer to Fine.


That’s how many days have passed since my diagnosis with Guillain Barre Syndrome.

August 11, 2011.  I’ll never forget that day.  When my entire world imploded with six words- “You are going to be paralyzed”.  That frightening moment began my journey with GBS.

I spent my 1-Year diagnosis anniversary quietly on my own this past Saturday.  There was no party. There was no celebration. There was no hoopla.  And that was exactly the way I wanted it.

It was a quiet day of introspection.  I thought a lot on Saturday about where I was before GBS, where I was while recovering from GBS, and where I am today.  I had so many mixed emotions.

…Exultation because I never thought I’d be independent again.

…Sadness because I remember the fear that I felt when I was paralyzed.

…Relief because my doctors really were right when they said I’d walk again.

…Anger since I still have no idea why I was given this disease.

…Pride because I did the work and I am now reaping the benefits.

I had a quiet weekend, alone with my thoughts and my own personal celebration.

Bright and early Monday morning, I headed to Lithe.  After my 6am workout, I showered and headed to work.  On my way home, I was driving on the Schuylkill Expressway, stuck in traffic and was flipping through radio stations. I do that now, since my iPod has become so predictable.  Turned on “90s on 9” which is always good for a pump-me-up kind of song.

The rain had cleared.  The sun had just come out.  I cranked up the radio, and was transported back to college…

We called them the Twinners.  Not a very original nickname for friends of ours who were, you guessed it, twins that were part of our inner circle at King’s College.  They were notorious for singing.  Standing in the middle of a party at Margarita.  Late Night, as they call it, with just close friends after a very long night out apartment hopping, and spending some time in Helen’s.  We’d be standing around, laughing, drinking, dancing.

They were known for belting out songs at the most random times, and always in harmony with each other.  As if they had always planned to serenade us, and had been practicing all week.

Gina and I would try to keep up, pretending we could sing.  Alli, Greenie, Hahn, Lisa and Hanlon and the rest of us would giggle, while joining in their latest rendition of some song that would have sounded so much better if we had just kept our traps shut and let the Twinners do their thing.

So, naturally, when the radio starting playing their most famous performance tune, I laughed and clapped, then rolled down the windows, opened the sunroof and gave the Schuylkill Expressway my best Twinners impression— harmony and all….

I was instantly inspired, and renewed.  I pulled out my notepad, right there in rush hour traffic, and started writing down things that I wanted to say to all of you.

This song has so much meaning,  besides the obvious of reminding me of a time when I could do keg stands, and stay up all night and still somehow make it to class. This song is about forgiving yourself for not having a plan, taking a winding path to get to where you are going, and being okay with that.   You need to accept that your plans may not work out as you expected, and be grateful for the new plan that this divergent path has created for you.

It’s about being confused, looking for answers, but knowing, at the end, you’re going to be alright.  At every turn, and every intersection, you are getting Closer to Fine.

This song was true back in college, when we were all kids trying to figure out what and who we wanted to be when we grew up. I think it’s even more true for me today, as I continue to recovery from GBS.

I’m trying to tell you something about my life, maybe give me insight between black and white.  And the best thing you’ve ever done for me is to help me take my life less seriously.  It’s only life after all.

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  I know that.  And, honestly, I’ve been struggling with what I wanted to say.  Life hasn’t been easy these past 3 months, but it sure has had its milestones for me.

I am so busy.  This is a good thing– my schedule at work is back to full-time and I’m working on some very important and strategic projects at the office. I feel energized, productive, and valued.  It took a while to full-time again, and it feels really good to be back!

I’m Lithing 5 days a week.  In lieu of my physical therapy, Lithe has helped me take my GBS ridden body and get my weak areas strengthened.  If you recall, my core, my hip adductors and abductors and my calf muscles all healed the slowest.  I had very little muscle tone in my legs, and little sensation for months in my core area.  I had to really focus in my therapy as these weaknesses were impeding my stability.

I am proud to say that while I know I still have a ways to go, my strength is at an all time high since diagnosis!  I can stand for longer periods of time without getting dizzy.  I can run up and down steps without holding on.

And most importantly, I can wear heels again!  Not every day, and not all day long, but I’ve been able to open the other side of my closet and enjoy all of my many shoes that I have so desperately missed.  Oh, how I’ve missed you Strappy Sandals. Hello my Open-Toed Espadrilles!

And to top that off, as if wearing my amazing heel collection wasn’t reward enough, I finally have definition back in my calves!  I never thought I’d be more excited to see a calf muscle.   My Lithe instructor actually pointed it out to me in class– I was so proud!

There’s more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line, and the less I seek my source for some definitive, the Closer I am to Fine.

There are big changes ahead for me.  More milestones to achieve, and happiness to find.  Some of it I have planned. Some of it will just happen.  But either way, I know that I am heading toward a more beautiful tomorrow.  I just know it.

So, how am I doing?  I’ll tell you what.  Each day, I am getting Closer and Closer to Fine.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.


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