Each of us has a story to tell and each of us has a reason for hiking. I thought I would take a moment to tell you about mine.
See, less than a year ago and for about two and a half years, I battled with an illness that no one could explain. I was rushed to the emergency room twice with high blood pressure. I had a rash that consumed my body. The aches and fatigue drove me deep down into the bottomless pit of depression. I was losing ground and I didn't know what to do. Eventually, I walked away from two great paying jobs because my body wouldn't allow me to handle the day-to-day workflow. This was difficult because I have always been a goal-driven, motivated person. But since the doctors only wanted to treat the symptoms and not find a reason for them, I was left feeling frustrated and confused. Steroids seemed to be the drug of choice but unfortunately for me, I gained a lot of weight because of them. This certainly didn't help my frame of mind. In addition to that, my anxiety and panic attacks would not let me live a normal lifestyle. It didn't matter where I was or what I was doing, a panic attack would creep up out of nowhere. I did my best to maintain my sanity but if you've ever had one, you know how difficult that can be. I am so thankful my family was so patient.
Even though I was surrounded by supportive people, that didn't seem to stop the depression from taking over. One night, as I laid in bed, I begged God to take me home. Just sitting here typing this makes me tear up. I never, in my life, imagined I would beg to leave this earth. I have two amazing children and a loving husband. More than most could hope for but the pain was overwhelming. After many sleepless nights and complete exhaustion, I prayed to God for help. In the days to come, I had a moment of clarity. The timeline of my health episodes started to become clear. A couple of times, by choice, I quit taking my thyroid medications. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's a couple years ago and the doctor had started me on a specific regimen. My symptoms faded each time I stopped the medications. I gave it one last try and saw an endocrinologist. Sure it was the fiftieth doctors visit, but what the heck! What did I have to lose? Most of the hope I had left was slowly flying out the window. She made notes of everything and we started at ground zero. I would try a brand of medication until I showed signs of the same symptoms and I would stop them and log them. Each and every time I tried a generic brand, I would have the same issues. After about the sixth drug, she decided to try me on the name brand drug and before I knew it, we had a solution to the problem. NO SYMPTOMS!!! Come to find out, I had been poisoning myself for over two years. I am highly allergic to something in the generic brands. The symptoms I had experienced was my bodies way of trying to push the bad out of my system. A month into the new regimen and I was feeling like a million bucks. I felt stronger, I was smiling more, and the world was at my fingertips.
At the end of this battle, I walked away with one conclusion; life is too short. Sure, you hear people say it all the time. But until you have been to the depths of Hell, You can't truly know what that means. I had wasted so much time being unhappy and this was my chance to make some drastic changes. Sure, it was scary, but what did I have to lose? I truly felt like I had been given a second chance at this wonderful thing called life.
So, you are probably wondering how hiking falls into the scheme of things. Well, on December 25, 2018, my family had an entire afternoon of nothing to do. We had unwrapped our gifts that morning but we weren't scheduled to be at my parent's house until that evening. Contemplating what to do, out of nowhere, I told them to grab their bags, throw in some water, we were going hiking! I have no clue where this idea even came from but clearly, someone greater than myself knew this is exactly what I needed. I have bonded with my mother and my daughters on each and every hike. We have learned so much in such little time.
Ever since that day, I have been obsessed with hiking. I enjoy every aspect of it and our Facebook group truly does keep me going and motivated. Not just for myself but for each and every one of our members. I have met some pretty amazing women on the trails! If you haven't hiked before and have thought about it, you should go. It has a way of clearing the mind and nurturing the soul. I haven't experienced anything like it before. Besides the amazing mental benefits, it is a great workout.
Happy hiking, ladies! I can't wait to see you on the trails!