2020 Chelsea Lockwood. All Rights Reserved.

One Year Down


A little over a year ago, I stood in front of white backdrop and got my photo taken for a Costco membership card. In the weeks leading up to that moment, I'd felt the most ill I'd ever felt in my life and was so past the point of being able to care for myself that my dad had flown in from Mexico to take care of me. Seeing the condition I was living in, he thought stocking me up with basic necessities at Costco would help. Or at least prevent me from having to continue to take rolls of toilet paper from work because I was too weak to go into a real store. 

As I got my picture taken for the card, I remember wondering where I would be when the membership ran out in a year. Would I feel better, be sicker, or be dead? At that point, all three options felt equally as likely. In a period of 48 hours, I'd gone on leave from my job because I couldn't function, I was briefly hospitalized, outfitted with a Holter monitor to record my heart, my dad had taken an emergency flight to be with me, and now I was getting a Costco membership. Even writing that out, it seems more like a weird dream than reality. Needless to say, the future felt very uncertain. 

I've started writing so many times to give an update on how I've been doing and what new details I've discovered about what happened to me health-wise, but I always stop because it never feels like I'm quite at the end of the story. Whenever I think I have it figured out, a new element emerges that changes everything. One of those newish elements was finding out my apartment had mold, and that it was making my already bad health condition significantly worse. Within a week of discovering that, I found a new apartment. Within two weeks of that, I threw out, donated or sold half of my belongings. I moved quickly, because realizing I was being poisoned by my home made it especially difficult to relax. I knew there was only one way to get through it, so I tried not to be sentimental about the whole thing, but it still felt like a death. Like the end of a terrible life, but a life nonetheless. The only thing I held onto was the idea that whatever was next had to be significantly better than what I had just lived through.

It's been five weeks since I moved into my new place and two weeks since I finished several rounds of an intense immune boosting protocol. I can't say it's been a linear path, but I have more good days than bad. On my best days, I feel better than I did when I was a teenager, and on my worst, I feel like everything could go right back to shit. But I'm hopeful the bad days will become rarer with time.

Yesterday, when I went to get gas at Costco, the machine told me my membership had expired, and the memory of wondering where I'd be suddenly hit me. So many times in the last year, I've thought I had it figured out and been wrong. It's forced me into this humbling place of never really feeling like if I'm right about anything. Despite that, the most important quality I've found in myself is that I don't let not knowing get in the way of continuing to try. I'll try ABC until I know that doesn't work, then I'll try XYZ. If that doesn't work, I'll try LMN, and if that falls through, I'll go through the entire fucking alphabet until I find the combination of letters that work best. If I have to, I'll forgo a comfortable routine for an ever-changing one in order to find what works. All I really have are this body and mind and my relationships, and everything else is just shifting sands.