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It was time for my check up with my pulmonologist BR and I had much to share. Driving to her office, I remembered all the times I had driven this route feeling so awful and hopeless. Never did I think I would drive this route feeling like I do now. When I arrived and parked, I got out of my car and headed straight for the Steps of Doom. Without stopping or evening pausing, I ran up them at one go. When I stopped at the top I took a few deep breaths which was all I needed to recover from this exertion . . . and then I laughed out loud—the kind of laugh that is incredulous and joyful and full of strength. It felt glorious!

When BR came in my exam room, she came right over and hugged me, wanting to know how I was doing. I told her about weight lifting and Yoga and caregiving and how strong I was becoming. And as a special gift for her, I had run up the awful steps outside without any problem. She laughed at this and then I’ll never forget what she did next. She took my file and set it aside and said, “You’re fixed . . . you don’t need my help anymore.” This turned into a tearful moment for both of us as she gave me another hug and told me how proud she was of me. “I’m discharging you,” she said, “and I rarely get to fix and discharge my patients.” I remembered all the elderly, sick people I had crossed paths with in my many visits to this office and understood what she was telling me. “But you I get to discharge,” she said with a brilliant smile. She told me to see my family doctor if I got sick—and reminded me that I would, from time to time, get Bronchitis, but with the increase of strength and health, would probably get over it quickly. This has been the case for me. I’ve had Bronchitis a few times but have healed “like normal people,” which has become one of my favorite terms that I get to use now when referring to illness.

To this day I am still weight lifting, doing breathing exercises and doing Yoga when my knees allow [a fun new problem I’ve encounter with aging…but JB and I are working around it to gain even more strength in my legs]. I feel like I have my life back—a better, new life filled with tools to help me heal and deal with life’s challenges in a healthy way. If there is one thing you can take away from this journey I’ve shared, it’s to NEVER give up. And by this, I mean keep trying to find the right kind of help, the right doctor. Don’t EVER settle for answers that make you feel hopeless and weak. A million times I’ve asked myself “what if I never made that appointment to Mayo Clinic?” Honestly, I don’t think I’d be here . . . I think my body was to the point that it couldn’t take any more. I know my soul was to that point.

And please never forget that everything is connected—the body, the soul, the breath. How grateful I am to have found doctors who understand this. They are true healers who think beyond the confines of Western medicine to heal the whole person. If you are unhappy with your health, please keep searching and never give up. And once you find help, work your butt off doing exactly what they tell you to do. A few days ago I went back to the Steps of Doom and had a kind stranger video me running up the steps—which were even easier now….Wahoo! I’ve included it just for fun.

The end. Thank you for reading.

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