V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #55: reclaim

In July of 2013, I contracted pneumonia. After a course of treatment, I continued to experience weakness, shortness of breath, and frequent tachycardia. By January, I had seen a gamut of specialists, received no answers, and was worse. Test after test eliminated obvious possibilities. In the end, I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

The doctor recommended taking time off work. She warned that if I didn’t, I could complicate things further.

It was a peak point in my career. I felt I couldn’t let go. So I cut extra-curriculars, and reduced my teaching load to two-thirds. Then one day in May, I went to walk up the stairs at home and my body would not respond. It was as if someone had unplugged me.

From that moment on, I could not sit up, or stand, without difficulty. Noise, scents, even talking became too much. Getting to the bathroom required assistance. In fact, I was dependent on others for every task. The loss was catastrophic.

As we all do when faced with life-altering events, I eventually began to rebuild. I started writing poetry. I created this blog. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, I gained strength.

Now, five years along, I acknowledge the advancements that I’ve made, and at the same time, appreciate the fragility of my condition. I’ve learned to take what comes and embrace it all, and still I am not willing to settle.

Recently, the word “reclaim” has been floating around my consciousness. It’s time, I feel, to visit all that was lost and reclaim a portion of self.

I don’t know what that looks like, or what it will be, but I invite you to join me this week, and see where this challenge will take us.

No expectations – just an open invitation to let your creativity speak. “Reclaimed” by the way, works for this prompt, so all you photographers might have fun with that.

Look forward to your responses.

As always, this challenge is open to all who wish to participate. Just create a post, publish it on your own site, and link back here.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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