Do you remember the mythological story of Achilles, the invulnerable warrior? You might remember him from the movie Troy since Brad Pitt played Achilles. Thetis, his mother, made Achilles invulnerable by dipping him in the River Styx while he was still an infant. The problem was that she held him by the heels, which were not wetted. This remained a vulnerable part of his anatomy. Achilles became a great warrior and slew Hector of Troy in battle. He was unbeatable until Paris, Hector’s brother played by Orlando Bloom, launched the arrow that fatally struck Achilles in his vulnerable heel.
The moral of this story is that even the mightiest individuals can have a hidden weakness. It underscores the idea that no one is entirely without vulnerability, and one should remain humble and self-aware.
Why did I share this story? You won’t believe what happened. As a person with a strong immune system, who feeds on anti-inflammatory foods, and exercises regularly, I resonated with Achilles a lot. I haven’t had any cold as long as I can remember. I thought I was like modern Achilles, the invulnerable health warrior.
Then history repeated itself. Around mid-August, I was having breakfast on the patio and got stung by a mosquito right on my right heel. It was quite itchy in the beginning but half an hour later it disappeared. The same evening, I started developing some rashes on my forearm. Day by day, the rashes started spreading all over my body, and one mosquito bite made my entire immunity collapse.
Just like Paris’s arrow ending Achilles’ life and closing an era of greatness, the mosquito did its job on my heel. One mosquito bite changed the course of my life and destroyed all the healthy habits I had built over the years.
I’ve had 11 doctor’s visits for this incident since August and have 2 more on the upcoming days. This infection didn’t kill me but came with a heavy toll on my health! Due to sensitivity and dryness of my skin, any type of movement was causing my skin to break out. So, I lost the ability to stretch or exercise. I also had to shift to an antihistamine diet since my body started an autoimmune reaction towards certain foods. A combination of not being able to exercise and following a strict diet resulted in me losing 20 lbs over the course of 10 weeks. Another result was losing a significant amount of muscle mass which led to weakness in my core strength. Since my muscles couldn’t support my spine effectively, it triggered my lower back pain again. One mosquito bite on my Achilles Heel destroyed my healthy habits and took me back to where I started my transformation journey.
While I’m writing this, my skin is still very itchy and reactive but at the same time, this unpleasant experience is very rewarding because it taught me how to be more resilient and more grateful for my health. As I move on to the next chapter of my life, I see this time as an opportunity to build new healthy habits, and if I can do that, you can do it too. This mosquito didn’t kill me. It disrupted the quality of my life, but I’ll come back stronger than before.
So think about your life, a big struggle that you just faced or you’re going through. If it doesn’t kill you, you’ll make it better than before! Just as Achilles learned that even the mightiest have vulnerabilities, we, too, can find strength and growth in the face of adversity. In the end, as Homer says, “the journey is its own reward”, and the lessons learned along the way are what make us truly resilient.