Ending 2021 on a Good Note . . . (Sort of)

2021 has undoubtedly been a rough year, mostly thanks to COVID. But, at the same time, it has been one of the best years for my recovery.

In the last twelve months, I have gone from being completely bedridden to walking on my own again. I’ve started walking outside (though not more than a few steps). I’ve been able to lift things, like pitchers full of water and plates filled with food, which had previously felt as heavy as the weights I used to lift when I was a fitness instructor.

With my health improving, I’ve been able to do these and so many other things that have dramatically improved my quality of life. I take showers now in an actual bathtub, not the inflatable one I used for years. And I can make it to the bathroom again, instead of navigating the tricky and often treacherous task of relieving one’s self in bed.

I can wear heavier clothing—hoodies and sweatpants—instead of freezing my buns off in shorts and a t-shirt (or no clothes at all). I can talk a lot more too, my voice seeming to get stronger and louder by the day. I can also write with a pen. In years past, I wasn’t even able to write my name. Now I’m filling entire pages, crafting drafts of my writing before I type on my phone.

It has been wonderful to experience a year full of such improvements, such progress, after making little or none for a very long time. I’m also happy that I was able to maintain this blog for another year. I’ve been posting here consistently since 2016, and it feels good to have kept it going another year.

I won’t lie: It was challenging at times. The improvements in my health often made it difficult to sit and write. Using my newfound strength for walking and doing my daily tasks left little energy to write. But I’m glad I made it work this last year. I will continue to write on this blog as long as I can find the energy and motivation to do so.

And now, my final words of 2021: I began writing this post lying in bed during day three of a power outage following a snowstorm in the Sierras. The fresh powder was lovely for the first day until the power and running water shut off. I enjoy winter weather—the clouds and rain and even snow—but extreme weather like this is a reminder of how quickly life can become exceedingly difficult for me. Trying to walk in the snow (or even indoors with extra layers of clothing on) feels like swimming in quicksand, my body becomes weaker the more I move, and my muscles and joints ache with the frigid temperatures.

This experience in the final days of 2021 has made me remember that, while I have had a remarkable year regaining some of my health, I am still recovering, still relying on the help and generosity of my family, still fighting to get back to where I was before I got sick. Sometimes it takes a snowstorm and being without power or running water to realize that, while I may be able to do a lot of things on a normal day, I can’t do those same things in freezing temperatures and three feet of snow, just like I can’t do them in triple-digit temperatures and wildfire smoke during the summer.

One of the biggest disadvantages of being sick is that the conditions have to be just right in order to thrive, and even then it’s an uphill battle. But that doesn’t mean it won’t (or can’t) happen. So here’s to finding the right conditions to thrive, to feeling better and stronger, and to another year of improvements.

BEFORE YOU GO . . .

1. Thank you for reading! You can also listen to a recording of this post.

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