I take it all in.
Because today, more than any other day, I'm reminded of how our world can turn upside down in an instant.
On Valentine's Day 2011, my doctor called me in, showed me my abnormal MRI image and sent me directly to the hospital.
It could be anything. Anything from an infection to cancer.
In an instant.
you change with it.
That Valentine's Day brought the most terrifying, life changing awakening. Surrounded by oncologists and more questions than answers, I had never experienced such fear.
When I left the hospital, I was a different person. For one, I was determined to never go back - at least not if I could help it. All the worries that take up so much space instantly went out the window and all that mattered was time - with my daughters, my family, with people I love.
In the months that followed and after eventually being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, I was determined to fight. Fight for my health, fight for remission, fight for living my best life.
Last February, I turned a corner. My heath improved and I found what worked for me - a combination of diet, lifestyle changes, targeted supplementation, daily exercises and minimal medication. Still I was fighting for it.
Fighting has its place, but it can also be exhausting.
This year, as we approach Valentines Day, I have peace. I am a champion for health, prevention and natural wellness more than ever, but it's different this time around. There is less of a fight and more of an embrace. My goal is nothing but beautiful, vibrant, amazing health. I love that eating clean, whole foods gets me closer to my goal. I love that natural, smart supplementation fills in all the gaps and has me feeling better than ever. I know that when I move and stretch and build my strength, my body is happier for it.
Am I in remission? I don't think so.
Can I move and function and play with my kids without being restricted by AS? Yes!
Do I still have rough days? Absolutely.
But they are so far and few between that I have nothing but thanks. In fact, I don't argue with the fact that there's no cure. Maybe there is. Maybe there isn't. I'm not going to get all bent out of shape about it. All I know is that if I can live well with AS, that's all that matters.
That's a bold statement and something that would have never come out of my mouth a year ago.
But time brings wisdom, perspective and ultimately peace.
So cheers to Valentine's Day, to love, to awakenings, to the beauty and wonder of health.