So What Is Normal?

Barista: "You look so normal !?"

Me: Yes, I look normal.

IV poll: Beep beep beep.

Me: So back to my latte, can you make it extra hot !?

IV poll: Beep, Beep, Beep. *press silence button on IV poll and glide over to the counter to grab my ever needed morning latte.

My normal has been an amazing roller coaster of challenging, blessed and unique experiences.

Are you jealous yet? I mean of me sipping on a latte?

That question of me looking normal comes up more often than you can imagine.

What!? do most people not walk up to a coffee shop wearing heels, a dress and IV to match?

Are You telling me that You didn't know IV polls make great coat hangers as well? And fun fact if your under 5 feet and around 6 years old they make awesome scooters!

Ok, now I KNOW you are jealous.

We live in a society that often places labels and logos on people. We have a pre determined notion of what people should look like, sound like or even how they should act.

I am 28 years old, often pass for 16, and Ihave had well over 50 major surgeries.

I don't count minor ones like kidney removals.

Do you know what I look like yet? Other than not dead... Probably visibly damaged right?

Of those surgeries one of the shortest and least invasive was my first Kidney transplant in 2001. 2013 I received a second kidney transplant.

I have two dogs who are literally the funniest most loving creatures in the world.

My longest surgery was 18 hours. I question if that surgeon was paid time and a half during that shift?

I am one of approximately 7 people in the world who do not absorb or produce iron, causing me to need frequent infusions. Daily, weekly or monthly.

I work full time. So you can imagine how fun filled my weeks can be. Eat, work, coffee, coffee, coffee. Sleeeeeep. And somewhere in between that routine is some medical adventures.

I call it collecting Frequent flyer miles at the hospital. One day I feel like I should be able to cash in my points for a private room, maybe a car, trip for 2 to Bora Bora.

I have a colostomy and mitrofinoff.

One is a digestive medical diversion and the other a urinary diversion. *Don't google it because you may end up more confused as to what I should look like. Bags, drains tubes etc.

I am alive.

If there is one thing life has taught me is that life in itself is more than enough. Everything else is just bonus. If I am alive what more can I ask for!?

So going back to that question " you look so normal?!"

Because I am!

What does that even mean?? This life here, right here, this is MY normal. My normal has been challenging and educational. It has been physically and emotionally exhausting yet amazingly fulfilling. Most of all it has been just that. Life. I have beat the odds and been able to experience larger than life challenges and overcome them! I have failed school projects but learnt to work dialysis machines. My tears of fear and pain have been followed by those of love and happiness. And I can tell you with full heart that everything I have lived has been my normal. And if I can share one thought with you it is life. Just that single word and thought. LIFE. Everything, and I mean everything else is bonus.

I was given the question as to one message to share and I hope it's just that. Life is hard, health can be a challenge, education is pricy and finding true love seems like a lottery. But all of that is part of living.  I hope that we as a society are able to enjoy that one massive adventure we call life.

Xo

Maria-Jose


Be sure to check out our amazing conversation with Maria-Jose over on iTunes!