Michael Yarish/FOX

How A Health Scare Helped Me Find Deeper Appreciation For LIfe


I never thought I would be where I am today.

I mean, we all see sad stories on television of people who have been dealt terrible cards in life, but isn't it true that none of us expect something terrible could happen to us?

Somehow, we feel immune to life's hardest battles, and we live our lives as if we are guaranteed so many more years ahead of us.

But in hindsight, things can just as easily happen to us as they can the next person.

How do I know this? Well, I am guilty of exactly that.

I lived my life as a normal teenager, who woke up every day expecting to have the ability to go to school, play basketball, spend late nights out at parties, hold a stable job and socialize constantly.

I felt it was my god-given right to be healthy, so I didn't even think twice about it.

Little did I know that it could all change so quickly, and before I knew it, my priorities in life took a 360-degree turn.

Daily tasks, like hanging my laundry or having a shower became impossible for me to complete.

I had to give up my sport, my jobs, my university degree and my social life, as there have been very few days when I have even been able to leave my house.

After years of wondering the name of my mysterious illness, I was eventually diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease. Before I could even blink, I was spending my nights in the hospital, petrified that my life was about to come to an end.

My thoughts quickly changed from worrying about what outfit I would wear to the party on the weekend to wondering whether or not I would wake up the next morning.

As I laid awake on nights I couldn't possibly be any sicker, I wondered about everything I still wanted to experience, and all the dreams I wanted to fulfill.

I shed a tear, as I couldn't bear the thought of not spending another day making fun of my crazy, beautiful, mother, or laughing at my dad's hilarious fart jokes.

I couldn't wrap my mind around not being able to spend another moment with my best friends, or even embarking on the journey to one day publish my own book, work on a film set or to even have children and experience my wedding day.

In that moment, I realized all the things that were so important to me that I couldn't possibly let go of.

I saw all the beauty that the world has yet to offer me, and I saw life in an entirely new light.

You see, when our lives are in danger, we discover their value.

And, when all of our passions and simple joys in our lives are robbed from us, we recognize their worth.

When we aren't 100 percent guaranteed to make it through to the other side, we start to see the beauty in today, and all that we are experiencing in the present.

It made me laugh a little harder, smile a bit bigger and love everyone around me even deeper.

It made me realize that although I was dealt a tough hand of cards, there is always someone out there who is worse off than me.

There will always be someone out there who is more afraid than you are, someone who has less than you do and someone who doesn't have the odds of survival that you do.

I realized that life isn't about a number in your bank account, the number of followers you have on Instagram or how big your thigh gap is.

It isn’t even about how much you achieve, how many awards, medals or successes you have. And, it's far more than just finding a well-paid job just to "get by" in life.

Life is about love. It is about finding everyone and everything you love and surrounding yourself with it.

You are meant to fill your life with the people who mean the most to you and the things you are the most passionate about.

It is about appreciating every single breath you take, cherishing your health and living out incredible experiences that only occur in your wildest dreams.

In hindsight, feeling as though my time was about to come to an end was possibly the greatest thing to ever happen to me. As crazy as that sounds, it was.

It has painted me a crystal clear picture of what I want from my life, and has shown me that although life can become extremely tough at times, it can also be beautiful, fun, spontaneous, hilarious, joyful, exciting and rewarding, if that is what I make it to be.

And, although I feared my story would not have a happily ever after, I am now lucky to be seeking treatment overseas that will not only save my life, but allow me to experience all I wished for in my darkest hours.

I have been lucky enough to receive a second chance in life, and take all of the pain, fear and despair that this illness has inflicted on my life, and put it toward a new beginning, filled with laughter, joy and most importantly, love.