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You Might Bend, But You Won't Break

Sometimes when you least expect it, you are thrown into situations where you are forced to bend and accept the fact that you have no choice but to power through. You might feel alone, hopeless, and scared, but being down this road before, you know that you have to do everything you can to hold it together. You ignore your fears, toughen up, and face reality steadfastly.

For the past two months, I had to bend in every direction and put my voice and advocacy skills to the test. Sharing this to you all in order to shed light on understanding the importance of advocacy, whatever that entails for you. I tend to hide this side of me at all costs from others but for the purpose of the Team Peri Foundation, this is something that needs to be tested and heard.

When I was young, I was in and out of the hospital for days, weeks, and months at a time. 10 years have past since my last big hospitalization, and here I found myself being admitted twice in the course of two weeks for the coveted COVID-19 virus and pneumonia - COVID with a twist if you will. The first bout, my mom was down for the count with the virus as well and for the first time in my life, unable to be the one to take me to the hospital. So my dad and I left for what we knew was going to be a rough stay. Luckily, the training that my mom and at-home respiratory therapist taught me over the years immediately kicked in, and I took the reins and control over my entire healthcare. I knew my medications, routine, and needs backward and forward and advocated for myself without giving it another thought. With the help of my communication device, I was able to advocate effectively during the times when I was unable to use my voice or rather, my speech was unclear (only downside is that my device has zero emotional intelligence, wit, or sass).

The second round of being admitted was harder as I was weaker and had little fight left in me. Thankfully, my mom was in the position to come along for the ride, so she played the 'bad cop'. I was relieved knowing that I did not have to take anyone down this time, as I had complete faith in her abilities. Instead, I was able to play 'good cop' in an attempt to diffuse any potential blow up situation that my mom inevitably caused (our presence was noticed). My immediate family took turns staying over in the hospital 24/7 with me during this time and in the interim, I kept whatever I could in check and educated some respiratory therapists and nurses in the process.

So while these were somewhat dark times, I used the power of advocacy and my strength to power through it. Never forget the power of your voice as it matters. Pick up those broken pieces, figure it out, and deal with it. Now, it might take a power nap in a bathroom sink or vomiting hot chocolate on a giant unicorn (not that this happened to me) to come to this realization, but it will happen. Remember to stay tough and learn how to develop a thick skin so that you can handle the current situation and fight the battles that you trained yourself to fight while being your own advocate.

Still recovering and will be doing so for quite some time, but in the words of Elton John, "I'm still standing" and do not plan on backing down anytime soon. I might've lost myself along the way and put on a brave face, but my voice strengthened, and now I am using it to share my story with others through the Team Peri Foundation's new speaking engagement endeavor. This particular tale of wanderlust is unlike most, but also is a lesson to others to use this wanderlust as a chance to conjure up your power to not only get what you need and deserve but to create change.

This is #TalesofWanderlust by Peri. XX .


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