Two Years: Pressure = Diamonds

Two years ago today, life was normal.

And then two years ago tomorrow happened. I put a lot of stock in dates. I remember the first time I ever stepped into my church, the date I got my real estate license, the day my dad fell out of the sky, the day of my near-fatal car accident, the day I had my first session with my therapist, the date I met my coach, the date my adoptive father abandoned me, the date I learned to like black coffee….and I usually write about those days. I write about the events and emotions of those days. I write about how that day forever changed my life.

But today, I want to do something different.

Two years ago tomorrow, my heart started doing something it had never done before and I found myself lying alone in my apartment gym sweating profusely and trying to catch my breath for nearly 90 minutes. My heart rate was consistently in the 190s and I was almost positive I was going to die and nobody was even going to know where I was.

What happened in the next few days, weeks and months is that I went through one of the absolute hardest seasons of my life (which is quite a statement). If you were close to me in the Spring of 2019, you know I am only here today by the grace of God. I had 108 degree fevers, spent nights in the hospital, had a million tests run, etc and it was July before we got answers on what was wrong and how to treat it.

So many of those days, I just wanted to know I would live. Working out and living a functional life were almost so out of reach that it was just a dream. In fact, if I’m being really honest with you, there were several occasions where I was ready to die. What I endured for those few months was 100 times worse than COVID (I can say that since I’ve lived through that one too).

Even though we got answers and I live a relatively normal life now, I am still constantly reminded that my heart is not good. I take 7 pills a day and wear a heart rate monitor during any and all exercise, just to name a few things. Let’s not even talk about how much higher my health insurance is…

But the day before all this started was just a normal day. I took a Lyft from Mount Juliet to Franklin for what I called “Franklin Fridays.” I worked out with my coach at the studio and it was the last time I did so without him monitoring my HR, blood pressure and oxygen all during a workout. During that session, he told me things were changing and that while his expectations were going up for me, his patience was going down. If only he had known how much more patience we were both going to need in the months to come. After the gym, I went to the Factory at Franklin as I did every Friday. I spent the entire day at my favorite table in my favorite coffee shop writing about how I was about to take over and achieve all my dreams. I ate tacos for lunch. It was a normal day.

I wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen. I was clueless about how strong I would have to be for the next few months. I was clueless about how much I would have to rely on my community for support. I was clueless about how much I would have to borrow from my coach’s confidence that I was not only going to be okay, but that I was going to make it through this and into something amazing. I was clueless about how much mental strength it would take to lay completely still on my stomach while some tech used a faulty laser to try to drill a needle into my spine and do a lumbar puncture. I was clueless about how close 108 degree fevers are to death. I was clueless to the tens of thousands of dollars I would incur in medical bills trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I was clueless about how everything would be different for the rest of my life.

I was just a happy-go-lucky kid sipping my favorite coffee and doing my favorite thing.

Two years later, I wonder if I can learn something from all that these last two years have put me through. Can I learn to appreciate every single moment as if it’s the best I’ll ever get? Can I remember to never take the things like the gym or a cup of fresh coffee or the way my heart beats for granted ever again?

But also, can I give someone else a little hope? Can I allow others to borrow from my confidence? To be a walking miracle that gives them enough faith to fight for another day?

I have a heart condition that a large segment of the medical community deems as an EXCUSE to not exercise or live a normal quality of life. With the help of the best coach on Planet Earth, I refused to accept that. In the last year and a half, we have PROVEN that exercise is the exact response to my condition.

I remember joining a bunch of Facebook groups right after my diagnosis and most of them are full of people who can’t even do their own laundry or pick up their toddler without feeling like they will pass out. My coach told me those people aren’t me.

He was right.

I am running 5ks every night and doing heavy bridges, deadlifts and back squats in-between. I work 75 hours a week and still do all the active things I want to do.

That’s a comeback story. MY comeback story. A story of hope. A story of strength. A story of perseverance.

It’s a story that would have never been possible without the day before the tragedy began. See, God was preparing me for what He knew was about to come my way. And during the hardest season of my life, He used pressure to create diamonds in my story.

What pressure do you need to step into today? Where do you need to be tested and tried? Put into the trenches? Thrown into the game?


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