I woke up thinking about a part of my story that is important, and I think other people can relate to it.
I was 26 when I had a pulmonary embolism and close to death. I had symptoms for weeks, but I had a superwoman mindset that I am invincible and people need me. I told myself I am just out of shape when it became hard to walk up the stairs to deliver food at my job. The company I worked for had an expectation of being fast, and I couldn’t walk up to five steps without getting out of breath. I was so worried about my driving stats. I kept saying Maggie, you can do this. In the week I went to the hospital, I was out of breath just walking on flat surfaces. I did a great job of hiding it from people that I couldn’t breathe when I was walking. I would stop and pretend I was looking for something in my bag or looking for something on my phone just to catch my breath. The night before I went to the hospital, I promised my friend at the time I would study with her. When we were walking to the library, I think I stopped 3 to 4 times. I told her my iron is just low. I force myself to keep going.
I made that commitment to her, and I felt like I needed to honor it no matter how I was feeling. On the day I went to the hospital, I went to work because I didn’t want to let my team down. I was carrying my topper to put on my car and halfway to my car I couldn’t breathe. I was coughing, whizzing, and dizzy. The whole time I was thinking about, I don’t want anyone to find me laying out on the concrete. I open the car door and passed out in the seat. I don’t know how long I was out for, but it couldn’t have been too long.
My co-worker was coming to find me to tell me I had a delivery. I was on my way back in to tell my general manager what happened, and I needed to go to the doctor. I went to my school’s clinic, then I was transferred to the hospital. At the hospital, I was subjected to so many tests in the emergency department. After my X-rays, the doctor told me I was lucky to be alive after seeing all the blood clots in my lungs and where they were traveling. When I told my mom, she said I had a strong body. I questioned was it my strong body, or if it was, I didn’t finish God’s purpose for my life yet. There were several times I thought I died in this snapshot of events that lead me to the hospital, and when I was hospitalized.
One thing I realized is that not every superhero is strong enough to fight all battles when they are faced with their kryptonite. We are no different. We can not become so wrapped up into other people and meeting there needs that we forget we are people who have needs too. Self-care I have been learning doesn’t mean your selfish but essential to your existence. If you’re not able to take care of yourself or recognize what’s going on with your whole body (mental, physical, and spiritual health), no offense to anyone, but you will be no help to anyone. Just like in my story, I didn’t take care of myself; instead made everyone around me a priority. My job kept going on. My friend kept going on with her life. My classes continued going. I might not have kept living that day, but I learned self-care is more important and needs to win over everything because if we wait for someone to care for us, it may never happen. Take it from me, make yourself a priority with all aspects of your health.