Lee Ann Norris is a lifestyle family and High School senior photography in the Treasure Valley area of Idaho. I am so happy you are here and checking out the site. Sessions with me are fun, laid-back, and full of laughter. I can’t wait to get to know you!
Today’s Talkative Tuesday is raw, and it is real. This is a copy of my blog post from November 18, 2017, and since that blog isn’t anymore, I want this documented. Although this year, as this date approached I wasn’t freaking out. I was calm, I was collected, and I was okay. Because I survived, and not just barely. I survived it well. My medical records are forever changed. And life has changed because, how can it not? But I am so grateful for it. A few things I can say I have learned even more. Life is hard and messy, but it is okay. It is okay to share the hard and the messy and to be real. How else do we make it through if we can’t share what is really going on? But through the hard and the messy, we find beauty and grace. We find our knees and we find those we truly need and need us. And all I can do is my very best. Life experiences make us who we are. The good, the bad, and the downright hard. But I wouldn’t trade any experience, because, without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. And I am still in the mode of LIVE OUT LOUD! Be true to you, be true to what you are and live it. (All the pictures are from Nov 2016, it was pretty scary and we didn’t have a lot of answers.)
The 2017 blog post:
2016 ended hard.. and 2017 started hard. But if I had one word to describe it… as hard as it was, I would say I felt so much love through it all. And I felt gratitude for all I was blessed with, and for the love that was so freely given to me.
November 18, 2016, was a much anticipated day. The home we were building was closing..and I couldn’t wait. I had gone over every detail of our new home, and I was ready to live there and to make it home. The day of our move came.. and I was busy with movers, and signing at the title company and everything was going pretty smooth. Friends came over to help me get my kitchen unpacked and organize my pantry, and before long the beds were made and I knew everyone had a cozy place to sleep. And this night was what I had been waiting for, and my tired body could sleep so happy.. that I was in our new home.
Around 10:30 that night I coughed.. and when I coughed I had a mouth full of blood.. (I was just yards from the hospital at this time.) And I knew something was wrong.. and I drove myself to the hospital.. with no time to spare. From there I was transferred via ambulance to the main hospital where I was treated in ICU for a critical mass hemorrhage in my lungs. I lost over 1200CC in one hour, and the ICU didn’t expect me to make it. (I didn’t know this at the time.)
Through a series of tests, they ruled out everything they thought.. viral, bacterial, lupus, asthma? None of it was what they wanted.. and I was told to go home and wait and see if it happens again.
Long story short.. 9 1/2 weeks later I was sent to OHSU and they found that I had a bronchial artery aneurysm. And it had stopped bleeding but was still there ready to rupture at any time. I had 8 platinum coils placed in my artery to fix an aneurysm and was told that 90% of the people die from this.
While all this was going on I decided I would run a half marathon on my birthday, May 20, and I would climb Mt. St. Helens (again), and try for a century ride. My doctors said okay.. and after 3 months of not working out, I went into full swing training again.
2017 if I could sum it up right now.. Live.. live out loud.. live without boundaries.. live the way you know you should. Just Live.
I ran my first half marathon ever, on my 37th birthday. I had 12 weeks of training to get it done, from my first run to my race. And it was so much work. My body was struggling to get blood to flow to the correct areas of my lungs.. there were medical tests done, and some days were painful. But I kept going, I knew I needed to do this race for me. Not for anyone else, but for me.
I have had different medical trials in my life, and it started when I was 10 days old. I am not afraid of them. But this trial.. this one it knocked the wind out of me.. it scared me.. it made me question things.. but it also made me turn more to my Heavenly Father.. to plead with him. To ask Him what do I need to do, what can I learn. Not to ask why, but what is it that I can learn, what can I help others with, what is it that thou has for me to do.
Somehow I knew this race mattered.. and honestly some days I am not sure why other than it mattered to me. I have an amazing friend who graciously trained with me, even though she would be out of town the day of the race. But she ran with me, paced with me, and encouraged me day, after day. She made it seem manageable, and she picked me up when I wasn’t sure I could do this.
The day of the race came, and my heart was anxious, I knew what this month.. 6 months after. It was a huge event for me. My race didn’t go perfect, my ankle hurt, and my hip had a knot in it for the last 6.1 miles. I limped through not running as fast as I had hoped. But I felt like a champion as I crossed that finish line. Tears of gratitude streamed down my face, that day that felt like it had stolen a part of me.. that day that had rocked my world.. that day wasn’t going to define me. I was standing there, and I had just run 13.1 miles not even 4 months after my procedure.. only 12 weeks from when I was allowed to run again.
It is funny because sometimes people think I am super competitive with races.. running, or fitness stuff. But I am going to tell you a secret. I am.. with myself, not with you. I am so proud of others for reaching their goals. In the moment when I crossed the finish line, I was 52 minutes slower than the fastest woman running it. And you know what? Her good job didn’t devalue my good job. She worked so hard to get there.. and so did I. I have no intentions of racing and running that fast. But I do plan to push my body to do all, that it can do. To not let the medical traumas take that from me, and define me.
This year I have pushed my body, trying to gain back everything I lost, both physically, and mentally. There were days I just wanted to climb back in bed and say you know what, I have had enough. My body is tired, and I am still here, so I think that is enough. I don’t have to do everything. But my spirit, my spirit has this fire in it. It has a push that says, no you can do this, and you need to do this. To show your daughter that no matter what happens you can do hard things. And to show yourself, why not now? Why not push hard, why not try new things, why not climb a mountain?
So I have kept trying and kept pushing. I know it is what I need for me. I was born with this imperfect body. But it is all I have ever known. I have seen a cardiologist since I was 10 days old, and I still see one to watch my bicuspid aortic valve. At 16 I was diagnosed with severe asthma. And since I was 18 I have gone to a rheumatologist for Lupus. And at 22 they took out the lower left lobe of my lung. It almost sounds like a made up story.. no one has a body like this. But it is the one, I willingly signed up for in Heaven. The one I told the Lord I would happily take. The one that would help me to remember Him, and what really matters. Because at the end of the day, Remembering HIM, that is what it all comes down to. And my body is a constant reminder. And I feel this sacred feeling, that I am to care for it, nourish it, strengthen it, and love it, because of all it can do. Not because of its weaknesses. But because of its power. My body is the perfect one for me. And so when I don’t want to do more… my Spirit calls out to me.. you can..and you will.