Life is full of highs and lows

The View from Here

Many quotes about life have stood the test of time — small pieces of wisdom that are meant to motivate and inspire. Their impact is often felt long after they’ve been said or written because they spark change or make an emotional connection with people.

One quote that has always had a personal meaning to me is, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

There have been so many moments in my existence when I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere and certain things seemingly didn’t make sense, until I was able to see a bigger picture. In fact, it sometimes feels like everything I do is a journey itself because it takes me a long time to get from one point to another.

However, I’ve noticed that the relevancy of this quote always finds a way to circle back into my life when I’m ready to turn a corner. Perhaps the most important example of this has revealed itself in the past several months.

I quietly finished writing my next book, “Mick & Me: My Unlikely Friendship with Wrestling Legend Mick Foley,” in mid-February after working on it for over a year. The publication date is to be determined.

This endeavor, which will be my third book, was quite literally a dream come true for many reasons — the biggest being the fact that Mick was my childhood hero when I was growing up watching professional wrestling. However, it was more than pure admiration for one of the most recognized names in pro wrestling history that made writing this book so special.

The story itself has very little to do with wrestling. It’s instead about determination, kindness and finding common ground through a love of putting pen to paper. It was this combination of coincidental similarities that built the foundation for my friendship with Mick — and helped me realize that I have much more in common with him than I ever thought.

Most importantly, he graciously granted me permission to write the book. All of these things had me riding a wave of surreal momentum. With the writing process finished and the manuscript submitted to my publisher, I had even more reasons to feel like I was on top of the world.

A month later, however, I was swiftly pulled back down to reality when my family got the news that we were eligible to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

We had been on several waiting lists for a while, but were finally able to schedule appointments at a local pharmacy. My parents received their vaccines one day before I got mine. They came home and had some of the side effects that people are currently talking about, which wore off in a few days.

That wasn’t the case for me. I started getting a bad headache shortly after being vaccinated. It got progressively worse and my first thought was, “So, this must be a part of what everybody’s talking about,” followed by, “This is the worst headache I’ve ever had!”

A week went by. Then two weeks. The pain was so excruciating at this point that I wished I could detach my head from my body. It was now a few weeks after I had been vaccinated with no signs of relief in sight. I was so weak and tired that I didn’t want to get out of bed. My head felt like it was in a vice, but I wanted to wait to go to the doctor as long as I could.

I didn’t want to end up being sicker than I already was or risk having the publication of my book delayed due to my health — knowing how much time and effort went into it. My symptoms were getting worse despite my excitement about my book. The notion that this was a simple headache was quickly fading away.

Many inconclusive doctor’s appointments, medications and tests led me to a neurologist in Pittsburgh, who diagnosed me with a COVID-related migraine. It’s very common, but even more difficult to manage as it causes persistent, severe pain on a daily basis. I’ve found that out the hard way, but my pain is now bearable thanks to new medication.

I’m just waiting for this nightmare to be over. In the meantime, I’m going to keep pushing forward. There are more lessons to be learned on the way to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Erin Kelly, 35, was born with cerebral palsy in Korea, and lives in Altoona. In addition to this column, she also writes for online publications The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project and The Mobility Resource. She can be reached at WriterWheels28@gmail.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.39/week.

Subscribe Today