For those who read my first book, You Don’t LOOK Sick! Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness, you know that I lived for many years with illness, fueled primarily by chronic pain and debilitating fatigue. It was a sad and lonely time, and I experienced deep grief at my isolation and inability to work as a financial advisor.
My husband Dan was a stalwart supporter during this time, but our life was uncertain. We never knew from day to day whether it would be a good one or a bad one for me as my symptoms waxed and waned. I knew he was as sad as I was at the loss of our vibrant lives.
Then Dan met a woman who had travelled to the Antarctic and inspired him with fabulous stories of what she had seen and experienced. He thought about this kind of expedition travel, on a ship, with no need to cart bags from place to place, no need to pack and unpack, a bedroom at the ready, as needed, 24/7. He realized this was a way for me to reengage with the world. He informed me we were going to the Antarctic.
Now, when I look back on those years, what I most remember is this trip, and others, to locales that ignited my senses in the most stimulating way imaginable. I remember the icebergs and sea lions, I remember the skua birds and the nesting albatross. I remember the scientists and their fascinating lectures on history, geology, the environment and climate change. I don’t remember the pain, or the constant exhaustion. I remember my husband’s love and kindness.
I remember the penguins.