Two weeks ago tomorrow, I was sitting in my sister’s home in California where my mom and I had landed hours earlier for her upcoming baby shower (her first, I am beyond thrilled) and we were talking about how you never know what someone is going through. I had been thinking of friends who recently dealt with very trying health ordeals both personally and within their immediate family–something most of us unfortunately have to face at some point. It isn’t always obvious when someone is struggling with something serious, because of this I’ve been making a more concerted effort to treat everyone with compassion.
The next day it happened to me. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my husband, a doctor, checked himself into the ER at his hospital the following morning, having suffered a TIA (transient ischemic attack), a pre-cursor of a stroke. Luckily, the symptoms abated, he called me and I left CA 24 hours after I arrived to find him in the ICU, where he spent the next 9 days being monitored 24 hours a day and routinely tested (plus 2 more days out of the ICU). We are both very private people, and this is his story to tell in detail, but the basics are this was caused by an underlying condition, which is fairly rare, which he did not know he had, that can cause issues such as strokes etc. My husband loves science and learning and we will both find out everything there is to know so he can be properly treated going forward. Luckily because he is a doctor, he has close relationships with many specialists and a large network of friends and colleagues who are there to help.
I never imagined myself having to write a post like this. I also never thought I would share something which feels so deeply personal. But once I started, the outpouring of support and love was more uplifting than I imagined. I can be stoic (to the point of being ridiculously stubborn), but I now realize that suffering in silence negates the chance for friends to help you find strength.
I also never imagined after discussing the importance of being compassionate, cultivating close friendships and family connections, and treating others with kindness and love because one never knows….that a “you never know” event would happen to me. If the universe is trying to speak to me, I am listening. The only advice I can offer anyone is to cultivate compassion on a daily basis, because one day you may need all the energy and love you send out in the world to come back your way and help lift you up.