Moving and Traveling with Chronic Illness

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Iman is a photographer who, through her unique process of coaching and photography, can show a woman what other people see when they look at her. She is passionate about teaching other photographers how to live and be a professional and making change in the world. She dreams of changing the way women look at their bodies and how the world defines beauty. She also thinks being an instructor on CreativeLIVE would be incredible. Iman battles Lyme disease and shares her unique view of dreaming while fighting for her health. Her post day is Wednesday. [email protected] Iman Woods If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.
Moving and Traveling with Chronic Illness

The mountain view from outside of Asheville, NC. I was excited to see a beautiful mountain sunset. Different from the Rocky Mountains, but soul food nonetheless.

Moving and traveling with chronic illness: This is an update from my last blog.

Despite my fears we finished packing up the house.

It was three days of movers. One for my ex, two for me and it was stressful. There was a point where it looked like I would be giving up (giving away/donating because there wasn’t time to sell) half my belongings. I tried to hold fast to the thought that these were just THINGS and I could replace them. That they didn’t truly matter. But in letting go of the house, my home town, and friends that have become family this felt like insult to injury.

Everything important made it. Even what I thought was important truly isn’t.

While packing up, my chronic illness reared its ugly head. Which is Law in the world of chronic illness: The most inconvenient time to be sick is the most likely time you will be sick. But there was no stopping. It had to get done. I left town with the house still needing to be emptied. My bestie Elizabeth and ex-hubby worked very hard to finish cleaning up. I’m grateful that they were able to do that because I was drained physically and emotionally and needed to get on the road.

Saying goodbye to the friends who have helped me survive the past few years was agony and draining deep in my soul.

Bear and I made the 26 hour drive over two thirteen hour days. At first I was so excited to be alone on the road with my audio books. I pushed my body to do two days versus three. I was blown away by Kansas’ use of wind power.

Traveling through Kansas. It took FOR EVER but seeing thousands of these wind turbines was so cool!

Traveling through Kansas. It took FOR EVER but seeing thousands of these wind turbines was so cool!

The first night, I used Expedia’s phone service to book a hotel in the city I thought I’d end up in. The woman on the phone had trouble spelling my name even after saying it phonetically several times. She did manage to get my credit card perfect, though she never got my email right and I never got a confirmation. As I was on the road, I wasn’t concerned. She verbally gave me the name of the hotel and an address in downtown St. Louis.

I arrived at the destination at around 10:30pm after driving for 12+ hours. A feat for anyone with chronic pain. The hotel was nowhere to be found. I drove around downtown searching for the Pier Three Inn. Her accent and phonetic spelling were terribly wrong. She meant Pear Tree by Drury but never once said “Drury”. I finally realized that she had never given me the proper name of the hotel. The address was an intersection and GPS said to walk the remaining blocks on foot. Downtown. Alone. At night. Not being an IDIOT I chose to leave downtown, head on my way and find a hotel off the highway. But I was pissed, cranky, afraid and tired. Expedia has still not refunded me even after an hour with their customer service. I cursed and used the “f” word on Facebook that night. I felt both thrilled to call them out and ashamed I lost my temper.

The next day’s drive was hard.

I used the seat warmers to help my body handle the drive. I tried to stick to my limited ingredient Lyme diet. I brought a cooler with gluten-free options. I still ended up eating some fast food.

Finally, late the second night, I arrived at my parents house outside of Charlotte, NC. My sister, Nadia, who I hadn’t seen in three years was there with her two children. I spent that first night with my beloved niece beside me, cursing the years apart. Even though I was kicked during the night, the sight of her sweet face in the morning was so special.

Getting quality time with family I hadn't seen in three years.

Getting quality time with family I hadn’t seen in three years.

The only thing that could have made this better was if my baby sister and her new twins was also there. You take being together for granted when you’re an exit-ready teenager. But being together now is the hugest blessing.

Seeing my little sister for the first time in three years! We're dorks. At least I am.

Seeing my little sister for the first time in three years! We’re dorks. At least I am.

After a few days with the family, I went to stay with friends at the beach. I have been utterly useless. My Lyme, the move, and the drive have all left me exhausted. I can’t seem to rest enough. I HATE having a chronic illness. I curse it. My belongings will arrive shortly and I have no idea how I will unpack. That is the curse of chronic illness. You need help for things that others can push themselves to do. So I will ask for help. I will hire help. It will somehow get done. But I wish I could do it myself.

I haven’t seen my new home in person yet. I have an awesome landlord who has been so helpful. I’m excited to see it. It’s out in the country and I feel will be rejuvenating. Cities drain me. Nature restores me. Or I may chicken out and realize this glamour girl is meant for the city. I’m both excited and nervous.

A little bit of rest won’t hurt me. Ignoring my body will. I’m on the precipice of great things. Dreaming of new horizons.

The Emerald Isle bridge. Every time I cross this onto the Isle I feel like I'm breathing for the first time.

The Emerald Isle bridge. Every time I cross this onto the Isle I feel like I’m breathing for the first time.

  • kellyswanson1

    One day at a time, my friend. One day at a time. Just do what has to be doing. The rest can wait. Happy to have you here in North Carolina. May you find peace here too.

  • Iman – I’m feeling for you sweets! Congrats on putting it all out there and sharing that not every day going after our dreams is smiling faces and rainbows :) Can’t wait to hear about the new place!

  • Thank you Karen! Your profile pic makes me smile!!!

  • This is a wonderful post. Thank you Iman for sharing your journey!

  • Melissa Halsey Caudill

    LOVE this, Mimi. Your writing is getting so much more real as you go through this transition. I think wonderful things are in store for you.

    • ImanWoods

      It’s so funny that you say that. I think these last two were my least favorite blogs to write. But I suppose that’s because they’re so personal. Thank you for coming with me on this crazy roller coaster.

  • Karen ‘Bechtel’ Becker

    OHMYGOODNESS…..I don’t know how you do it, and you wonder why I always say you’re so strong….bless your heart. By ‘strong’, I mean you are courageous…this was/has been quite a trip. You have been thru SO much as of late, and here you are, figuring out what steps you need to take to get where you need to be. I am always truly inspired by you and in awe at how you handle situations. I always feel so blessed that you share your blogs with us. Amazing stories, heart-warming, heart-wrenching and I just always want to hug you. I wish you nothing but peace and tranquility. Please keep us posted on the new place and how family makes you feel now that you are surrounded by them once again.

    • ImanWoods

      Lol! Ok! I hear you! I just want to hug you too. Hopefully I’ll have some over-the-moon happy blogs in store to balance these out.

      • Karen ‘Bechtel’ Becker

        No, but these last few you’ve written have been so wonderful because they ARE so personal! This is your heart, and you share it, and you share it so beautifully!! I am so glad you are finding happiness! You are on your way! I know you’ve had ups and downs, but girl, you got this!!! Good things are coming your way!! Good people get theirs eventually. Patience is the key I’ve been told!! ;-)