My Pain And Gain From A Life-Threatening Illness

You see that bit in the tagline on the blog header where it says “odes to life?” I want to tell you about my pain and gain. A brand new aspect of me that I have been in doubt about sharing with you all. I need to though. A new layer to me, one might say, that I have developed in 2014 which has been my worst/most evolving year ever.

Before the illness

I have been really sick and I wrote a bit about it in my “meet Henriette” section of the blog. I don’t want my illness to define me more than it already has. The reason for that is because it caused life-altering changes in my life. Before the illness, I had a tendency to over-analyze people. I also tend to turn my work life into a living hell because I was so insecure about myself. I didn’t like myself at all. The mental drag that I was keeping in my head reflected on the people around me. I had clients not signing, and pushing prices incredibly low, etc. It was just so much to take.

So I decided not to deal with it anymore because it was a huge stress factor for me. I would lie awake in the middle of the night trying to figure out what to do. I wasn’t happy, I was miserable.

Changes that the illness brought into my life

When the illness came into my life, I was forced to look at everything that didn’t seem to work. I decided if it was something I would keep or something I would change for the better so it would fit the “new” me. The one that is here now. I changed everything from business and friends. The stuff I have in my house. Who I choose to meet up with and how I spend my time with them. How much I read, paint, and write. The important stuff. And I found something in all of these changes. I found a woman in my mirror that I adored. A woman that wasn’t scared of dying because she had done the best she could, and she was pretty bad-ass.

My ultimate low

At that point when I started to change things around and looked at them differently, that was when the ultimate low hit me. Even though I was convinced I was going to get through this, the doctors at the first hospital started to doubt it. They didn’t say it directly to me, but after half a year on really heavy drugs, nothing had changed. My lungs weren’t getting better and every day was a challenge. Picture yourself not being able to walk up a flight of stairs without being completely out of breath. Picture yourself not being able to do any kind of activities and actually making a cup of coffee for yourself would be the victory of the day. That was me around 8 months ago.

Right after they (didn’t) tell me that they didn’t know how to deal with my situation, I had a weekend from hell. I started saying goodbye to everything. Looked back at my husband and daughter and thought to myself: “I think you will be ok, but I will miss you so dearly”. I looked at all the stuff I loved in my life and started to align myself with the thought that I might not get through this. That was the most painful thing I have ever experienced.

The darkest moment of my life

If I would think of the darkest moment of my life, it would be the sight of me sitting on a chair under the summer sun. Seeing my husband working in the garden and thinking to myself: “I love you and I’m going to miss you SO much. Please take care of everything when I am gone”.

A sliver of hope

A couple of days later, I started as a specialist patient under Denmark’s leading doctor in his field which included this incredibly rare lung thingy that had decided to reside in me for the time being. He started to give me some other drugs and I slowly got better. Things started to change. One of the things that I visioned the most at this time was to be able to bike again. A couple of weeks later, I did manage to bike again. I got life, but with a changed core. Mostly because everything had been up for review.

I took my whole life and looked at it at the bigger picture. I wrote about all the things that I loved and hated. And then I started deciding what I need to stay with me and what I need to toss away. The people in my life. How my life is set-up. Where I was living. How I was spending my time, and all of my works.

My realization

After everything that’s happened, I told my rockin’ spiritual advisor Mariakaisa Bruun my whole experience. All of the pain I’ve gone through and the changes it caused in my life. In the beginning, she asked me how I felt. I told her that I knew I was going to get through all that. Part of me just knew. I call it faith. I didn’t give up or gave in and I just took one day at a time.

Now? Life is a complete joy for me. I do stuff I care about. I do stuff I love like writing and connecting with people. Creative things.

I am so looking forward to skydiving on my 100th birthday. And the party I will have when I am off the drugs. The books I will write. The startups and brands I will advise on brand design and PR. And being a style icon as always.

All is good and I’m doing well and I am so happy just to be here. When that is the output of everything, life changes. It’s not so complicated and you don’t fuzz around people or unimportant stuff.

Keep on rockin’ in a free world, rockers!

rock on

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