From Santa Cruz to Savannah and Hurricane Matthew

From Santa Cruz to Savannah and Hurricane Matthew
savannah, georgia

My Mountain, My Lupus column

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Georgia on my mind …

So much has happened in the last two weeks I have no idea of where to even start. If you’ve been following along with my many misadventures this summer, you would know that I went road tripping, island hopping, visited with friends both far and wide and, at the end of the day, survived a hurricane, yet my soul still needed more. I was diagnosed with lupus four years ago. Almost as a default status like, “Hey sorry I couldn’t come up with something better … so now you get lupus.” Sweet! My lucky day/month/year/lifetime!

After countless hours searching the same damn article — regurgitated fifteen-umph-hundred times — I hit the local library. I wanted to get every book out there on the topic of lupus!  Guess how many there were. No really! Take a guess! Give up? Um … Yeah … 2. That is not a typo.

 My idea to write a collection of stories was born in that library

I had a need to learn everything there was about lupus. In the absence of reading material, I saw the need to write a collection of stories, of, for, and by lupies. I remember tears streaming down my face for quite some time as I sat cross-legged in between those bookshelves. But after my self-pity cry was over, I squared my shoulders, checked out my two books, and vowed to research and create an outlet for everything I could find on lupus.

A few years would pass before I started my blog, My Mountain, My Lupus, but I knew the day I started it that it would never end as just a blog. It was always meant to be a collection of stories and affirmations, reminding myself and my new-found lupus family that we ARE here for a reason. We have a purpose. Even if that purpose is to support each other, to learn humility and when to ask for help, we have a  purpose.

This past summer I went on the road trip of a lifetime

Lupus Road Trip - Hurricane matthew
Lupus Road Trip

While on the road, I found I could do the things I used to be able to do before my symptoms began. Plus, I had decided it was time to move on to the next adventure. Four years had passed since that day at the library, and my little FB blog had grown to almost 2,ooo in readers. Everywhere I turned, Savannah kept popping into our path. Over and over again, Savannah, Savannah, Savannah … and before I knew it, Georgia was on my mind, and all over my heart. I knew we needed to book a trip to Savannah, GA, and see what this was all about.

This may sound crazy, but I had what can only be known as a spiritual calling. I had never even been to Savannah, or to Georgia for that matter. Never read the book nor saw the movie, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” I had seen pictures of Savannah, and had visited Charleston many times.  There was something to be said for the fact that during the Civil War, Savannah and Charleston were the only two cities spared because of their beauty, and all others were burnt to the ground. I digress …

I believe in the power of the Universe

Anyway, the thought just came to me, that I needed to go and, more importantly, I needed to write that book. I knew in that moment that my time in California was over. I was needed in Georgia, and could smell the familiar smell of the crossroads, calling me. Yet again I was being given an opportunity to take care of my children and to look after others, and that felt good. It was time to remove distractions, time to write this book, time for change.

Santa Cruz to Savannah
Santa Cruz to Savannah

I was so happy, I probably should have seen the hurricane coming. The fact that I didn’t is still pretty funny to me. Wait let me check, yup, still funny. Sometimes, a sense of humor is the only that can get you through.

Within three weeks of saying to myself, “Sure, I would move to Georgia if an opportunity presented itself …” Rich, the boys and I loading up all of our belongings in a moving truck and heading to Georgia. Two days after arriving, we were evacuated due to Hurricane Matthew. I left earthquakes for hurricanes? You gotta be kidding me! Stay tuned for my next article, “Surviving a Hurricane with Lupus.”

And so there we were. Packing the house back up. It felt so surreal to be thinking that we may have just paid a ton of money to move all of our belongings cross-country, just so that we could throw them away when we got there. Everything downstairs got moved upstairs, in case of flooding. There was nothing left to do but get the hell out of town. I was so stressed out it was unreal. Had another resurgence of my sleep walking. The only reason we know is because I fell.  I woke up mid-fall and bruised my leg, ankle, shoulder and hip. Bookshelf-1, Bridge-0.

Hurricane Matthew Flooding in Savannah
Hurricane Matthew flooding in Savannah

Four days later, we are allowed back into the Savannah area to assess the damage. We came to find that many of the homes we had looked at before settling on the one we did, were flooded. It was hard not to cry as we drove back into town. Knowing there were people who lost everything. Knowing that it could have been worse. Hell, many homes on our own block were flooded.

We were very lucky. That and we’ve always been able to rely on each other.

We’ve been in the house for one full week since the hurricane and we couldn’t be happier. To say the Universe works in mysterious ways would be a gross understatement.  Now I could get resentful or look at the negative side of things, thinking to myself,  “Wow Universe, a hurricane?”, or I can look at it like “thanks for sparing us when others were affected so greatly. Thanks for giving us good friends that looked out for us in our time of need.” I think everyone has the power to hear the subtle cues that the universe gives to them. Blessings are equal opportunity. You just have to be quiet enough to hear them. I can’t wait to see where this adventure is going to take us.

Bridge and Maggie on The Adventure of a Lifetime.
Bridge and Maggie on The Adventure of a Lifetime.

Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.

Bridget Gardiner resides in Savannah, Georgia, having moved from the mountains of Santa Cruz, with her two loving teenage sons. She is the founder of the Facebook support community and blog “My Mountain, My Lupus” where she uses stories of her everyday adventures to bring greater support, awareness and education to all lupus warriors throughout the world. She has been diligently compiling this collection of short essays for a novel, “Living with Lupus,” revealing not only her own personal struggle but interviews with others that live their lives with lupus. Bridget is currently working on the first ever Annual Lupus Retreat tentatively scheduled or June of 2017, where the goal is to allow lupus warriors and their families the ability to have a guilt free vacation with other families that go through a similar experience. Single mother, activist, adventurist, mentor, lifetime lover of learning, lupus warrior.

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