Nathasha with her dark brown curly hair. She stares off not facing the camera.

Reflecting After a Health Scare

In Columns, Just My Bellybutton, Opinion by Nathasha AlvarezLeave a Comment


Sometimes when my friends even the ones online share their health scare, I feel their sense of fear and apprehension. It pushes me to reflect on my own mortality and health issues. I think some people say that their situation has “triggered” me but, I prefer not to use that word. I’d rather meander through my feelings without labeling it.

Reflecting On My Current Health

Certain types of disabilities have levels of seriousness. For example, I have Type 3 Osteogenesis Imperfecta but someone else with my same type might have a more serious level within that type. I’ve fractured my bones literally hundreds of times before the age of ten but after the age of eleven, the frequency slowed down. It didn’t pick up again until my mid 40s. But not as severe as when I was younger, yet my respiratory is worse than when I was a kid. (No thanks to my fall from the University of Miami elevator, but you can check out my podcast here about the horror, AFTER reading this article.)

And someone with the same type might have continued to fracture with that frequency throughout their life. After living with OI for over five decades, I can see that in the OI community, no one is exactly like another OI person even with the same diagnosis. But when I read or hear about someone with or without OI getting hurt or dealing with a health issue, I automatically go into checklist mode.

When was my last doctor visit?

Have I been taking my vitamins on a daily basis?

Am I drinking enough water?

Am I eating enough vegetables and fruit?

Have I been active enough?

What else should I be doing?

That’s the mental conversation I have with myself.

My friend with Cerebral Palsy says she goes through a similar thought process. Being empathetic has its rewards.

Nathasha stares off and there's a shadow covering half her face.
Nathasha Alvarez

Reflecting some more.

After I’ve gone over my medical checklist, I have another conversation with myself. I ask myself if I’ve been doing everything I can to lead the life I want. It goes something like this, have you been procrastinating?

Are you wasting time?

Where’s your bucket list?

Are you surrounding yourself with the right people?

Are you fulfilling your purpose in the world?

What else should you be doing?

Why aren’t you doing it?

What if you die tomorrow?

Death is not a topic that we shy away from at so I feel comfortable sharing my thoughts on it. The more I think about death, the more I appreciate my life. There are people who think this thought process is morbid, but those are not my type of people.

In life, you’re either running away from something or running toward it. I push towards an audacious life and push away from anything that gets in between me and my happiness.

I’ve always thought that I must live my life as if every day were my last. That doesn’t mean that I am going to jump out of an airplane or go bungee jumping but it does mean that I need to refocus on the ideas, values and people who are important to me.

That’s what propels me to have these reflecting time outs. Gives me a chance to breathe and make any needed corrections in my life. Because in the end, it’s my life. I must be comfortable with my decisions and situations.

Benefits of these Health Scares

After I have these vicarious health scares and reflecting time outs, I see the benefits from it. It’s almost like a lifestyle check up.

I appreciate the people who pushed me either because they supported my journey or they temporarily blocked me from it. Hey, I have to thank the haters! And I have to thank my small circle of friends who know the behind the scenes nitty gritty. Definitely the support I receive from our readers and social media friends all over the world, thank you!

I acknowledge my own determination and audacity to take action when fear could have left me complacent and unhappy. I would pat myself on the back, but I don’t want to hurt my arm! (Joking!) But is important to acknowledge your own actions. You’re not being conceited. You’re valuing your efforts and results. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. I remember when people did that to me. It’s more hampering than a broken bone. Protect your boundaries at all time.

I devour information like vitamins to help my mind, body, and soul reach higher levels of greatness. Podcasts, books, videos, webinars, and blogs are great resources. Lack of money shouldn’t stop any of us from learning. Lack of effort definitely keeps us stagnant.

I teach others to do the same. It’s rewarding when I guide others through their struggles with the same actions that I have taken. It validates my decisions, even the painful ones like pruning people from my friend list or not returning to certain situations because the end results don’t add value to my life. My biggest reward is when my former students contact me to thank me for sharing my stories, pushing them to do more, and preparing them to deal with situations in life that you can’t find in a textbook, only through experience.

Reflecting When It’s My Health Scare

Perhaps when I have my own health scare, it does the same for others. You know, paying it forward. It makes them take stock in their life. Perhaps motivates them to get off the sofa or the phone and make better decisions about their life. It irks me when people have more excuses to do nothing than reasons to do something.

Even when the health scare is my own, I take the time to reflect on it. What did I learn from this situation?

What can I do if there is a next time?

Who was there for me?

What areas need more attention and improvement?

How can I improve myself?

As I go through this self talk, I remind myself that while not everyone has my exact situation, there are others out there who can relate to it. Therefore, I should share my experience because it would be mutually beneficial.

It’s not easy to share vulnerability when you have a disability. But sometimes the benefits outweigh the hardship.

Because I’m curious, I’d love to know if you can relate to this. Please comment. If anyone you know can gain value from this, please share the article. It felt great to write it.

If you’d like to read my article on death, click here.

If you’d like to know more about OI, click here.

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