This Journey Called Life
Never, even in the most remote recesses of my foggy brain, did I ever think my life would turn out like it has. I never dreamed that I would be chronically ill from the time I was barely thirty and on disability in my forties. Never did I dream I would be in a hospital bed, in a power chair or going through treatments at different times in my life or be on all the prescription pills that I am on or in all the pain I live with. But….I am and it did turn out this way. And so I had to decide would I let it take me down moaning and groaning or would I keep fighting..moaning and groaning? Either way I will be moaning and groaning so why not fight. Why not make the effort instead of spending all the minutes, hours, days, months, years in the pit of darkness of being chronically ill or disabled?
Maybe that is why I do not look at myself like so many chronically ill do. I do not look at me and see someone chronically ill or disabled. I just do not. I recognize that I have health issues and that I have to adapt my life for the situation but I have just never labeled myself with those words. I remember telling the doctors when I had the Celluliltis infection in my legs months back and they mentioned putting me in the hospital…that I did not want to go in the hospital because “sick people” were in there. They laughed but asked me what did I think I was? And my reply was…well I am not like them. See, I always thought I could do anything I wanted if I tried. I might have to lay down to do it. I might have to cry doing it and I might have to take a nap to finish it but I believe I can fly even when I am flat on my back.
image from searchfortheperhaps.wordpress.com
So, maybe it is because I do not view myself as chronically ill or disabled that I am able to view myself as someone still alive and with dreams instead of mentally taking on all the symptoms thinking I must have them all if I have this disease or that disease. I can not explain to others why I do not get into the depressions others do about their health nor can I explain where my Pollyanna attitude comes from. I just know that I know I will not die one day sooner or one day later than God intends so I leave dying to him and I focus on living. And living means looking to the future. Living means making an effort and pushing yourself…yes pushing yourself to be involved in life.
I have been really sick the past few weeks from medicines that I am having to take plus from a really bad infections, high pain and a foggy brain. The foggy brain is one reason I have not posted a blog in a few days. My brain just would not connect with my fingers and so my thoughts were there but getting them on this page was a different story. And so, I decided to just relax, rest, watch movies, and enjoy my Daisy and my son until things calmed down a little. Son is working on putting Dragon on my computer so I can just talk and it will type for me. Now to get something that makes my brain throw the words into my mouth and I am good to go. *laughing here*
I preach this all the time. We are NOT our illnesses or disabilities. They are just what we have. I see so many take on this disease or disorder or disability and wear it like a merit badge sash with all the symptoms proudly displayed. That is not who we are. We are the person that is inside and yes, that person may struggle to “get out” at times but it is still there within us. I am a compassionate, loving, quirky, funny, feisty, country girl, redneck, stubborn, intelligent, determined, creative, artistic, giving, affectionate , happy woman who just happens to be chronically ill and disabled. Notice that chronically ill and disabled are not listed in the description of who I am. They are not the headliner even though it may seem like it at times. It is only a piece of this person called simply danLrene
I have spent almost thirty-four years being constantly sick and in constant pain and slowly losing my abilities until I have ended up spending most of my time on a hospital bed with a mattress and a gel mattress and a 4 inch memory foam mattress on top of that to help ease the pain. I wear oxygen 24/7, take enough pills to choke a horse, use a power chair and have caretakers and my life is a roller coaster of climbing up the mountain and thinking I will get over the top to be knocked back down to the valley again. And I start climbing again…over and over and over and over. Because you see, I am too stubborn to give up and to give in and let chronic illness or my disabilities rule my life. I am also too stubborn to let anything steal my happiness from me.
I have some friends who are that way. They may take their time to rest for a bit but they keep climbing that mountain and moving forward because you see….survivors talk about the future and solutions to make life easier to cope with. And victims are always talking about all their problems as if that were all there was in their lives. And it is not. Take a look around and see how much you have to be thankful for. I have a roof over my head, food on the table, a bed that is special for me, heat and cool in the house, a shower to bathe in, washer and dryer to keep clean clothes, clothes to wear, friends in Real life and on the internet, my Daisy and my son who takes care of me and my other son and daughter in law and Sweetpea, a helper that comes in to assist me and I could go on. I can still do things I just have to do them at a different pace and in a different way than most people.
There is an old saying that “birds of a feather flock together” and I find it to be true in the chronically ill and disabled. Those that are survivors, warriors that keep fighting and climbing that mountain will hang around with others that do the same. And those that are victims and want to only talk about all their problems will hang around those that are the same. Another old saying “misery loves company”. The only problem is those miserable and unhappy in their situation only bring negativity and if a positive person is not careful, it can bring them down too. So, we have to be careful and guard our fight so that we can stay on the path and keep going up…and sometimes down again and then back up and back down again and back up. But so long as we keep moving up, we are ok. We might need a small breather but the important thing is to get back up and fight again.
I always tell people that we can not change what others do, we can only change how we react to it. The same is true for those of us with chronic illnesses and disabilities. We can not change that we are but we can change our attitude about it and change how we deal with it. It is about choice just as happiness is about choice. We choose to be happy. We choose to be positive and we choose to be fighters. We choose to be optimistic. And we choose how we use the trials and tribulations we have in our lives.
This thing called life comes with no guarantees of tomorrow, no guarantees that we will be successful, rich, healthy, happy or any of those things. It is our gift and what we do with it is up to us.
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