Part of the Journey

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That’s not fog, that’s clouds! (La Stada Della 52 Gallerie)

Well, my goodness, it has been too long. It certainly was not on purpose that I’ve neglected Be Well Bundo. In fact, I was working on making this Bundo well. Daniel and I will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary in September. I can’t believe how much time has passed. I moved to be with him in November of 2017. It was an adjustment living away from my little corner of the world. It was the first time I’d ever lived outside Delaware, and now I was living in another country. I wasn’t allowed to work in Italy and the clinic on base had few, if any, civilian nurses. I gave up everything I worked so damn hard for and it ate away at me everyday. But it was a blessing in disguise, I believe.

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La Strada de Prosecco, Hiking through vineyards

I finished my Bachelors degree. I wasn’t trying to work 40+hours a week, plan a wedding, deal with military bureaucracy and red tape trying to be with my husband, and still be a student. I could rest. My dream of living in Italy was a reality. I was surrounded by beauty. I was even able to share Italy briefly with my Dad when Daniel deployed. Daniel and I had many difficult times, as we had never lived with each other longer than 30 days at a time. It was a rude awakening that married life was not the fairy tale either one if us had in our heads. I focused all my attention on Daniel and our home. While that sounds wise, it wasn’t all that healthy because I wasn’t getting the attention I needed to give myself.

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I started going to therapy. Just having someone to vent to and bounce ideas off of was like taking an elephant off my chest. I worked through a lot of my issues regarding my mom and dad, and began to see how my past experiences were shaping my current ones with Daniel. I was became aware of how my mother’s mental health influenced mine and how it so heavily was influencing how I dealt with my dad and Daniel.

Daniel deployed shortly after my birthday 2018. Again, an adjustment. During that time, I went through 8 rounds of blood work, full pelvic exams, full pelvic ultrasounds, and an MRI of my brain. It was suggested that I may have a 3mm brain tumor on my pituitary gland called a microprolactinoma. I then flew home the US for a second opinion at John’s Hopkins 2 months later. I’m pleased to say that the specialist believed it was a misdiagnosis and my labs since then have been fine.

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Crossfit Aviano

Missing nursing so much and with no way of working in Italy, I began considering commissioning into the Air Force. I began to run, not well might I add, and attempt push ups. I joined the Cross Fit class on base and my world changed again. With my mental health appointments, close friends there and at home, hiking the local hills, and this amazing group of people at Crossfit encouraging me to push past my fears and insecurities to achieve what I thought I never could, my whole mindset changed. I was working out 20-60 min at least 5 days a week and loved myself! I finally loved myself.

I hurt my hip, by over-training most likely, in August and had to stop running. I still kept active but not like I was before. Between lifting weights and a decrease in my cardio, my once lean body hit 160lb. This is the heaviest my body had been in 8 years. I initially panicked, but my counselor pointed out that my period, hormones, and lab work were regular and normal. “Maybe this is where your body is telling you it needs to be to properly take care of you and potentially grow a baby” (since family planning had and has been a frequent topic of conversation). I felt so content leaving that day, like everything was going to be okay. Like I was finally listening to my body AND taking care of it.

Around the same time, I also had to plan for my first real military move. Suddenly my body changed and I’m still not sure how. People say these moves really put your body into a tizzy. I still worked out, I still counted calories, but now my clothes are snug?? What the heck happened?! The body I was finally in love with was gonna in a matter of weeks. I felt helpless, confused and defeated. I was finally treating my body right. No binging and purging, no purging from guilt, 30-60 min of exercise 5x a week, no cutting, eating protein and veggies…

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Just like in my own mind, I’ve caught myself starting to ramble and overthink, here, about the changes of my body. Take a deep breath.

So while nursing is still my passion, my heart and soul, and I’m currently working on becoming certified in the UK, having that time off has made me resilient, more logical (though that bitch in the back of my head still tries to throw me off every now and then), and given me better coping skills to deal with my anxieties.

As far as body image, this is part of my journey. And while I am still trying to accept the changes I’ve seen in my body over the last few months, I know I am stronger than I’ve been in years, as well as physically and emotionally healthier. I’ve come a long way in 8 years, from 234lb to 94lb to whatever the hell weight I am now.

Everyday, I choose to be more than an eating disorder. I choose to avoid the scale at all costs and focus on how I physically feel. I choose to fight that voice in my head that tells me I’m not pretty, smart, skinny, fit, etc. enough. I choose fitness. I choose to enjoy my food. I choose relationships with friends and loved ones. I choose my patients and career. I choose strength and endurance. I choose to continue to learn and listen to what my body requires. I choose progress. I choose to always fight. I choose me.

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*Remember, this is just my journey. Everyone heals at their own pace. Heck, it took me about 8 years just to get to this headspace and I’m still healing. Recovering from any addiction, is a life long process, so as hard as it may be, stop beating yourself up for not being where you want to be. You’re much stronger, disciplined, and more resilient than you give yourself credit for, and you’ve always got Be Well Bundo for a listening ear and a virtual shoulder to cry on.

For more on my journey of self-care, self harm, overall survival, and some reflective and motivating monologues, take a quick read at my “About,” Walking a Fine Line, What’s Your Story?, One Year Ago, Dear Anonymous, and In God All Things Are Possible.