"It Was a Struggle to Rebuild"

"I dropped to 81 pounds. I went to so many doctors. I went through so many MRIs. They took liquid from me. I couldn't even sign my name. I was working for the school district and I said, 'I'm sorry, I have to go.' I was throwing up from my headaches. I mean headache. I called 911. And the doctors said everything was normal. I said, 'How can everything be normal?' I sold my house. I lost all of my savings. I lost everything because I was really sick. My brother took me to Mexico to find a doctor. Even there I went to so many doctors. In Guadalajara, the doctor took one look at my irises, and he told me right away. 'You have it so bad,' he said. 'It's rare. That's why it doesn't show up in the MRIs.' I had to take herbs and teas. The whole house would smell. The taste was awful. I drank that and took a couple capsules every day.  And then I did it again with a different tea. I don't remember what the herbs were. It looked like they were picked from the trees. Little pieces of leaves … I don't  know. It took about three months before I started to feel better. It went slow. But never again have I had another migraine. Now, even if I'm kind of old, I'm healthy. That's what the doctor says.

"It was a struggle to rebuild. I went back to the school district and did custodian work because I needed more money, and they only offered me four hours to work in the cafeteria. I always got in trouble in the cafeteria. Always. There was a measurement. One-third mashed potatoes.

They said, 'That's it, Linda, no more.' But in high school, the boys are 6 feet tall! I would look at them and give them more. Corn dogs had a limit of one. I would give them two or three. We would just throw it all out afterwards, and I said, 'That's not right.' 

"The job I really did like was at Costco. I love Costco. At first, I had to count how many members came in. Then I moved to clothing. I'm the type of person where I have to do something. At the door I was going to fall asleep. In the clothing department, they said, 'Linda, how can you like this? You're folding all these clothes when people come and mess them up.' But at least I was moving, doing something. So I did that for 10 years and then I retired because of my mother. I had to take care of her back in California. My family was busy, so I said, 'Okay.' That's why I ended up doing it myself. I wanted to take care of her. She passed away this past December. She was really bad off. Alzheimer's. Dementia.

"I'm always doing something. I walk to the mall every morning for a one-hour walk. That's what I do, because I live here by myself. I like to clean my apartment. One of my friends says, 'Linda, why do you keep it so clean? It's not even yours. You're going to leave it one day.' I said, 'I keep it clean because I sleep here, I eat here and I do everything in here.'

"Now I work at Costco a couple hours a week. I went back because I was sad about my mother, to tell the truth. My brother always asks me to come back to Mexico. I said 'Not now. Maybe later.' Because I love it here. I really do. '"

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