Oct 06

Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with 35 Vials of Blood

By GrahamColm (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By GrahamColm (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Many of you know that I have had a chronic illness for over eight years. During that time, my health has deteriorated to the point that I’ve been housebound for half those years. After seeing a dozen different doctors to no avail, I had lost hope of improvement, let alone recovery. I cycled through the stages of grief and settled into acceptance. I believed that this would forever be my life.

My blog is about finding beauty in the ugly. Some might think that there can be nothing beautiful about an illness that robs you of 90% of life’s activities. I have to admit, I felt the ugly hard. It took a long time for the beauty to filter in — but it did.


I discovered a life wiped clean of expectations, a blank slate waiting for me to fill it the way I wanted. I noticed little things, tiny moments of joy and beauty. I became aware of my surroundings in new ways. I held the people closest to me closer because they were all that I had left.

Ah, but then my husband received a job offer that would take our family to Utah. In preparation, I did a little research and discovered a clinic that specialized in my illness. It intrigued me. The job fell through, and that was that, or so we thought. However, knowing that clinic was out there, right there…

After much counsel and prayer together as a family, we decided to make the move anyway.

So, I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office last Tuesday, listening to him describe my disease with complete understanding. He told me, “We can treat the symptoms while we work on the underlying causes.” He wrote several prescriptions and ordered even moreĀ tests.

The following morning I reclined in a chair while the phlebotomist took 35 vials of blood. Thirty-five vials of discovery. Thirty-five vials of hope.

I’m starting a new journey. It’s terrifying. It’s exhilarating. It won’t be easy, and I know it will require great courage. But I am so, so ready.


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  1. thischerishedlife

    Good luck to you as you pursue this new journey. I find travelling to somewhere new and making a new start creates a lot of positive energy and hope, regardless of the reasons.. maybe just what you need right now. I wish you well.

    1. Shelli Proffitt Howells

      Thank you so much, Kathy! I appreciate all the positive thoughts right now.

  2. Jim Proffitt

    I am so hoping…. And praying.

    1. Shelli Proffitt Howells

      Me, too, Dad! I love you!

  3. Scott

    Ugh, 35 vials. I can only imagine… I have to give two tomorrow and I hate those – I can’t fathom 35…

    1. Shelli Proffitt Howells

      Good luck tomorrow. Here’s a helpful hint from me: Make sure your hands are warmed up. šŸ™‚ I had to run my hands under hot water to get the blood flowing sufficiently.

  4. Eydie Stumpf

    My prayers are with you, Shelli. There’s always a shinning light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t imagine what you’re going through – Big Higs.

    1. Shelli Proffitt Howells

      Thank you, Eydie, your prayers are greatly appreciated. You’re a sweetheart!

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