February 8, 2013

Inspire Us! February's Inspiration of the Month

"The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it." 
- Thich Nhat Hanh

It never hurts to kick the weekend off (even under threat of blizzard) with a little inspiration! Meet Melissa, ESD's February Inspiration of the Month!

Melissa was diagnosed with Crohn's disease 14 years ago. Despite living with chronic illness, she aims to be an example of wellness with her active, healthy lifestyle. She's maintained a 50-lb weight loss, and credits the My Fitness Pal community as a source of motivation and inspiration. But, when she shared her story of traveling from Hawaii to Iowa for her best friend's wedding, we were absolutely moved by her positive outlook.

She writes:
"On my 1st day on the mainland, I ended up in emergency surgery for a potentially life threatening condition. My intestine had perforated (believed to have occurred during travel from Hawaii to Iowa). I had periontitis and sepsis of the blood. My amazingly skilled surgeon removed nearly two feet of my small intestine."

"I missed the wedding, but I discovered just how deeply I'm loved and supported. People assume that this would ruin a vacation, but honestly, this was the best trip I've ever had. I discovered that I have the most inspiring, loving, brightly burning support system possible. My family members drove from out of state to visit me. Friends entertained me with jokes, stories and musical performances. They kept me laughing, with no time for self pity. I was visited by two of my most cherished mentors, women who have inspired me, guided me and witnessed my growth since I met them as a student in my 20's. These were special times, and if not for this event, it wouldn't have happened...I've learned so much about myself and those who love me - it's mind blowing. It's hard to get worked up over the small things now, and much easier to see things in the proper perspective."

Just three weeks out of surgery, Melissa's resumed her healthy lifestyle and is working her way through the Couch to 5K program. She recently launched Hungry Girl Eats to create a support system for people living with chronic health issues.

As February's Inspiration of the Month, Melissa received an ESD necklace featuring the new mini charm inscribed with the word "Trust." You can read what this word means to Melissa in her post, Trust the Hours. We hope she enjoys wearing it!

We'll leave you with a final story from Melissa:

"I went to the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii (the highest mountain from sea level) for my 35th birthday last January. While I was there, I met a man who hiked to the summit on crutches. I was inspired by his ability to overcome adversity. I knew it was meaningful at the time. Today it feels symbolic. We all have mountains to climb and encounter obstacles along the way. What matters is how we respond to the obstacles. Do we stop and turn around? Or press on, knowing the view will be that much sweeter at the top?"

Need we say more? Melissa #YouInspire

Have an inspiring personal story to share? Visit our Inspire Us! page to apply!

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