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It was early April of 2015 when I started getting headaches, weakness and abnormal heart rates simultaneously whenever I exerted myself. Stairs became a nemesis, as I could feel myself about to faint whenever I reached my apartment on the third floor. I thought that now would be a good time to visit the doctor. There I had blood work done and a few hours later they called and told me to go to the ER immediately. “So…I shouldn’t go hiking right now?” I joked, despite the weakness in my legs.
At the last race of my high school cross country career, I stood on the starting line with one hundred other girls and repeated only one thought - “just finish”. I didn’t think about winning. I didn’t think about beating any records or trying to beat anyone, for that matter. I just wanted to finish. I wanted to look back and know that I did this one thing for me. I wanted to know that I did something that scared me, something that no one expected me to do, and something that I wasn’t even sure I could do. I wanted to power through this race and finish.
In November 2013, I was 22 years-old and going to school part-time for nursing while working as a Certified Nursing Assistant at an assisted living home. I was almost through my first semester of classes when I got a cold. I didn’t think much of it because my girlfriend, Abby, had been sick a few days before. By the end of the week I wasn’t feeling much better. Little pink dots (