Back in this machine.
Back to this noise.
Back to this life.
Lying in the MRI machine, surrounded by a sound that resembles a jackhammer, I’m struck by how strange this all feels.
Just a few days ago I was in Portugal with my husband. Exploring enchanted gardens, climbing palace ruins, and drinking Ginja from chocolate cups.
Now…I’m lying on an uncomfortable plastic board with a cage covering my face and a constant banging noise circling my head.
I am a patient. I am a traveler. I am a traveler because I am a patient.
I’m living two lives.
Neither was part of my plan.
After thirty-two days in Europe, it only took four days, and I’m already fully in this life again.
Over the next few weeks, I have all of my NF-related appointments. Between slightly declined hearing tests, cataracts eye exams, and waiting for results, it’s not the greatest way to spend our time at home.
But, soon we’ll be back in Europe.
Back to backpacks, reading on trains, and walking 10-miles a day.
Back to cobblestone streets, too much espresso, and endless pastries.
But for right now, we have to sit in this life for a little bit.
For the first time in two years, our month in Europe allowed me to finally forget about being this person. I somehow managed to avoid getting sick (for once), and other than a few abnormal headaches my hearing was stable.
I felt great.
I felt like me again.
This year is an incredible gift for us and not just because we’re getting to see the world.
Most people diagnosed with NF2 (or any chronic illness) don’t get a break. They don’t get a chance to escape. Most battle constant pain, endless surgeries and complete hearing loss. Most face severe balance issues, frequent falls, and facial paralysis.
But I’m not there yet.
I get to enjoy this break just a little bit longer.
Unfortunately, though, our year of travel will eventually end. My breaks may get shorter. My condition may progress. And I may become more and more like this other version of myself.
My prayer for this year is that I’ll learn to live this life a little better.
I hope that I’m able to hold onto my newfound carefree spirit.
I’ve always battled with anxiety and having NF2 has tested that a lot. Life is heavy and hard, but I don’t want to always feel the heaviness.
29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Mathew 11:29-30 NIV)
I hope to hold onto this verse a little tighter and trust the words more and more. Maybe I can let this year-long vacation spill over to my long-term reality.
Maybe I can embrace a light burden and a restful soul.
It’s been hard to come home and immediately jump into my appointments. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve instantly resorted back to my anxiety and held tightly to the little control I pretend to possess.
How quickly we forget?
But, old habits are hard to break.
It’s a good thing I still have nine more months to learn this lesson.
My prayer is that maybe you can learn this lesson too. We all have burdens and not everyone gets to quit their job and travel for a year. Not everyone gets a break. But no matter what your circumstances are, I hope that my journey can offer you some encouragement and peace.
So, here’s to learning this lesson together.
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