Who is ELLE

It’s a new year so let me introduce myself…I am Elle. Ok, 99% of you know me, but do you really know me?

I am 6’ tall but I am very rarely seen standing. I had the same shape as Jennifer Lopez for years…and then, prednisone happened. Now, I am more like Amber Rose.

As a person who is chronically ill I am supposed to hate my situation, but I don’t. The truth is that being this sick for this long has made me a better person. I think only a few people can explain this transition. I can say without hesitation that I used to be a bitch. I acted as if the world revolved around me. Even when I was teaching it was my pride of success that kept me going…it took me over a year in classroom to figure out, every student I had became my family.

I have one true blood sibling. I cannot have children, not at all. I had a hysterectomy long ago and therefore children will never happen in our house. I thankfully have a man who has adjusted to life each and everyday with me. I have a niece and one nephew, a mother and father and two grandmothers that I love. I have a man who for the most part is flawless and his family that supports me almost as much as my own. OK, sometimes even more. I AM BLESSED.

My large family is my old students are what keep me going each and everyday. Sounds ridiculous considering most of them I taught darn near 10 years ago. While they were struggling through their teen years I helped them in ways I don’t even realize. Now, they do the same for me. Social media and Internet have made it possible for me to continue life though I barely leave my own home.

I am educated, cultured and can discuss politics, religion, and world history AND quote Gucci Mane lyrics with ease. I can give a full explanation on how I feel 2pac has impacted the 21st century while also singing country music in a horrid voice. I can spout completely useless knowledge but also put the remote control to the TV in the freezer accidentally.

I have two dogs that are spoiled, loved and hilarious. Between them and my family, my life is wonderful. How can I say that you ask? I suffer everyday and struggle with my health. I say that because there are so many people on this planet that have it much worse than me. I am Elle. There is only one of me, and I am happy for that. There are millions of women who are repressed, children that are abused and the entire Middle East and its inhabitants that live there have lives that are much more unpredictable than my health issues.

I convince myself that I am trying to live not only for myself, but also for everyone that is chronically ill. I am trying to different treatments in hope that someday a dr can look at my blood levels and tests and know how to treat others that are similar.

I am Elle. I have days that I can complain, cry, whine and have a mini pity-party, but I ALWAYS get back up, dust myself off and continue fighting. I am not an inspiration. I am just simply me trying to make it each day. The real inspirations are all of my friends and family that keep me positive and interact with me. You all keep me sane, remind me how far I’ve come and refuse to let me give up. There are days I have zero energy to even bathe BUT then I lean on Joshua, or you all and I get through.

I was given a book to read by my physical therapist and it was incredibly enlightening. I disconnect from my body. I think of it as someone else. I am Elle…but in my brain, I am NOT my body. My body is this piece of shit that continually goes awry and I as ELLE have no connection to it.

Sounds like a mental illness issue when I say it aloud…but it is a defense mechanism I acquired in 2001 when I had my 15lb tumor. Each time I get really sick or have an issue I disconnect from my body and view it as I am watching it happen from above. Elle is not sick. Elle’s body is. While it may not be the best coping strategy, it has worked for me for over 15 years!

Elle’s body has to get a mammogram and ultrasound on her left breast again on Monday. Elle isn’t worried because Elle’s body is its own thing.

I know it sounds crazy but when you lay on the ground unconscious after passing out and I slowly become nonparalized (my mind wakes back up before my body most of the time) its easy to simply get mad at my heart which doesn’t work right…I shove my anger/frustration/sadness into my body. I compartmentalize and continue on as ELLE.

Maybe I'm crazy. The thing is though... it works. So thank you for letting me be Elle. Thank you for being there for me, keeping me sane and letting me into your lives everyday.

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