Being outside and enjoying a day off from work reminds me how thankful I am for springtime. It was 24 years ago that I spent 3 weeks inside a hospital confined to one room. With my immune system compromised and wrapped like a mummy with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on most of my body, I was not allowed visitors unless they gowned and masked. Needless to say spending time outside during the spring did not occur for me back then. It is why I enjoy this time of year and try to work in a run or ride as often as I can. I am so grateful to have experienced such a horrific event at age 16 years old. It changed my whole outlook on life. I no longer worried about the little things that had consumed me as a sophomore in high school. I was now just thankful to be alive, not be blind, and not be grossly scarred. Grateful that I did not end up needing a lung or kidney transplant, like so many patients who suffer SJS.
Days like today, remind me how I was brought out of darkness. It brings peace to know there was a bigger plan in store for me. Enduring what I did and conquering many challenges in my younger days with the help of others, has empowered me to give back. I hope and pray every day to let my story shine light on those discouraged or in need. You don’t have to spend 3 weeks in the burn unit to appreciate today. Just step outside and take some time to enjoy today. We all have seasons in life and this could end up to be your best one.
Running has allowed me time to reflect and grow from my past. I am so thankful for this time. Handana is a symbol to all those wanting to be healthy and more fit. Don’t allow anything to set you back or tell you you can’t. This is your time, your season, your Handana!