07/30/2015 08:34 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why I'm Letting Go Of My Immune Disorder

hospital gown

"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."
-Henry Ellis

I'm letting go of you, body. I'm letting go of the welts and the bumps, the bruising from needles. I'm letting go of shallow breaths, fuzzy thoughts, dizzy spells. I'm letting go of bloodshot eyes, pain in my back, pain in my stomach, pain in my pelvis. I'm letting go of stiff necks, burning behind my eyes, spinal taps and hospital paperwork.

I'll remember you, body -- shedding skin, hair breaking, floating to the floor like leaves from the trees during fall. I'll remember you, arms on fire, knees frozen and locked; I'll remember how you kept bending and flexing, standing and walking. I'll remember how you kept moving. How you kept me moving. How you kept all of that pain contained.

I'm letting go of you, anger. I'm letting go of the immune disorder, it's lack of a name. I'm letting go of the misdiagnosis and having to start all over again. I'm letting go of that panic rushing from brain to heart, fast and hard like water on the rocks. I'll let it all go: the doctors who got it wrong, the doctors whose faces morphed into question marks, the doctors who said, "This will work, no that will work. No this." I'm letting go of hating the body that failed me, the immune system that flipped inside out. I'm letting go of the why.

I'll remember you, anger. You kept me from being too sad. You kept me fired up and calling the doctors, calling insurance, trying the next thing and the next and the next.

I'm going to let go of you, fear. Fear that it could start over again. Fear that the never knowing what this thing is called will mean that it's never really gone. Fear of the blood work, the test results, the short voicemail. I'm letting go of the fear that my body isn't strong enough, that I am not strong enough. That I am not enough. I'm letting go of worry. Letting go of seeing the unknown as a shadow, and seeing it more as a light. Letting go doesn't come in one swift act. It's not the swinging of a door, but the sliding of a window. Slow and deliberate.

Instead, I'm making room for you. Room for the bumps that heal and the scars that fade. Room for the colds that pass. Room for being just fine with over the counter medicine. Room for deep breaths -- big inhales and long exhales. Room for looking in the mirror and remembering what it feels like to be me. Room to recognize my eyes. My cheeks. My smile. I know you.

I will always remember you: me of my twenties, me that girl scared and angry and sick. I will always save some love for you. I will remember the way it hurt and I will remember the small ways it got better. The new fuzzy hair around my temples, the softer skin on my shoulders. The refills that expired. The name of that drug, just on the tip of my tongue. I've forgotten it now.

So I'm letting go of you to make room for me. I am in this body but I am not the body.

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