24 December 2011

Don't Defer...

Happy Holidays All! I thought I'd start off this somewhat serious/morbid post with some of my favorite winter images to keep everyone in the holiday/winter mood.

Winter Images - Images by Elijah Goodwin

Now, I'm about to break two of my personal rules. First, I don't generally like to broadcast news about my health to random strangers across the internet. It just feels weird; and I know that if most people are like me, they only have a limited tolerance for listening to a long litany of health problems, even if they care about the person very much, never mind a total stranger. The second rule that I'm going to break is to give advice that sounds like the cliched, (practically worthless in real-life) platitudes and quotes that are constantly bandied about, particularly on social media. Don't get me wrong. I'm a dreamer all right, but I also inherited from my Mom a healthy dose of realism and a pretty good B.S. detector.

So, here goes... About 4 weeks ago now I came down with some pretty serious, but weird, neuro-muscular type symptoms (you may have noticed a lack of new photo material or mention of trips). Faintness, dizziness, trouble with balance, numbness and tingling in my limbs, vision problems, muscle aches, muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, etc... It comes and goes, but is a problem for most of every day. I missed the final three weeks of school before the Holiday break, I haven't been able to drive, and I've mostly been home-bound, except for lots of doctor's appointments and tests. We've ruled out a lot of the scariest stuff now (MS. heart issues, Lupus, brain tumor, etc...), but I still don't have any real improvement or a diagnosis. We think that Lyme disease is a likely candidate, but there is a lot of politics surrounding Lyme, and the disease is really tricky to diagnose in its later stages even if the various doctors, testing companies, and insurance companies were all getting along and were actually worried about the suffering patients. I'm waiting on some new tests, but it might be as much as two weeks before I find out if Lyme is definitely ruled in or out. If it is out, and my symptoms still persist, what then?

Now, I'm confident (hopeful) that I will eventually be cured and fully back to normal, but this experience has gotten me thinking. Even though I know better, I've always had this idea that getting my photography/education business fully off the ground and running, and successful, is something that can come later. When I have the time, when I finally get a new camera, when my girl grows up and moves out, when I retire... While I've put some modest efforts into making my dream a reality, I've always been willing to kick the can down the road and put off major efforts until work slows down, or until next summer, or until next year. There was always the assumption that there will be plenty of time later to make things work.

Now I realize, that there are no guarantees that all this time I think I have will be granted to me, or that I will be in the shape I want to be in in order to utilize it. That's a scary thought, but inspiring in a way. Maybe my time is now (or maybe I missed the best part of it). Healthy or not, I plan to start sticking my neck out there more and trying to make this thing a reality.  Not only taking advantage of the opportunities afforded to me, but actively hunting those opportunities down. Realism and prioritizing, yes. Cowardice and procrastination, NO!

So my advice to you (and me) is: don't defer your plans until it is too late. Sure you might fail, but wouldn't it be worse to never have had the chance to try?


  1. Inspiration comes in all forms , from all places, look for it everyday, everywhere and oh ya don't forget to bring your camera! Your work is already first rate so my advise is to relax and enjoy capturing the moments. Nan and I are sending good thoughts so you will have a speedy recovery and you can get back out there and amaze and delight us often!

    Uncle Ray

  2. You are inspirational, and absolutely right! Take big chances. Never hold back. You will be amazing.

  3. Elijah,

    You don't know me from Adam, I came across your post on Twitter. I am photograph mainly migranting birds and owned a photolab in MD for 18 years. I now live in Harrisburg PA, ok you still don't know me :) Anyway, in the 18 years in MD, I was diagnosed with MS and I contacted Lyme while shooting in the woods. I have a wealth of knowledge from my own struggle and diagnosis challenges, in case you need another opinion. There is a test (altho expensive) i was able to find out about through a more open minded altenative physician that will determine if there are any traces of lyme in your system. I have the MS in 100% remission and stable for over 17 years. Feel free to reach out if ya like to. Good wishes in 2102! Dian Miller @DKCards on twitter

  4. Great set, love them all.. :) The 'sunrise under the ocean' pic is just brilliant... :D

    Angad Achappa

  5. Update: I have finally been diagnosed with Lyme disease and a Bartonella infection. Starting antibiotics and hope to have news of recovery soon.