Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Italian Expose Part 3: Fabulous Sights

Trevi Fountain
Okay, so here we are at my third and final installment of my Italian Expose, and its all about the Fabulous Sights. I fully admit that I have a love affair with this country. The art, the architecture, the history, the food, the unique culture...all of it AMAZING! Its romantic, its beautiful, and you can't walk one city block without stumbling upon an ancient relic or an awe-inspiring church. What's not to love?! With fabulous sights around every corner its difficult to narrow down the must-sees. But there was particular sight that held a certain level of significance for me...

I have a confession to make. This is not my first visit to Italia (spoiled, I know!). I actually made my first journey to this gorgeous country during my senior year of high school for a whirlwind week long trip during March break with a group of my best friends, and the geography department. This trip also happened to coincide with the early stages of my Long QT diagnosis. I was in the middle of my final attempt to utilize beta blockers for treatment. This was drug number 5, and my cardiologist also prescribed an antihistamine to help inhibit the allergic reactions that had plagued me throughout my several other early attempts. I was feeling rough to say the least, but excited for the distraction and the escape this getaway offered (sound familiar?). I was ready to do something fun and shake off the funk I was feeling, and hopefully return feeling refreshed and with a viable beta-blocker option. The trip was great and my girlfriends and I made memories to last a lifetime. But I was not exactly functioning at an optimum level and I experienced a setback while over there. I ended up missing of all things - the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel!

Ponte Vecchio
I spent that entire day beginning sick to my stomach. I am not sure if it was the combination of meds, stress, and just pure exhaustion. But on the morning of the Sistine Chapel I threw up on the bus, and by proxy one of my best friends Lauren (*sorry Lauren! Love you! - and yes we are still friends*). And while everyone hustled into the Vatican Museum I hustled across the street to the "Vatican Cafe", where I spent the rest of the day occupying their washroom. Not great! Not exactly a highlight! But I swore that one day I would return to Italy and see that Sistine Chapel (damnit!). And on my final night in Rome I made sure to follow the old tradition and toss my three coins in the Trevi Fountain. The 1st to ensure I would return, the 2nd to ensure I would find love, and the 3rd promises marriage.

The Sistine Chapel in all its glory
So on my return trip nearly 9 years later; as I found myself walking into the Sistine Chapel with the man I love and my husband -everything felt just as it should be. And I was moved to tears. The beauty of the chapel is indescribable, and the irony of my current situation was not lost on me. Here I was returning to this sight of all sights on the cusp of yet another battle for my health. Knee deep in another genetic diagnosis, getting ready to venture into a new and unknown medical experience; and I was struck by how different I feel this time around. Last time, things felt bleak, unsure, and somewhat hopeless. But this time I know I am stronger than this set of circumstances. This time around I know I will get through it, and be better for it. And this time I am struck by the perfect symmetry and balance of my life and this experience, and I was reminded that everything will end up just as it should be.

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,