Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Word To The Wise…


    OK. So this really happened. And I want you all to take note. Not that what I usually write isn’t true. It all is. (Even the embarrassing stuff.) I admit it, I put my entire life out there all for you so Sjogren’s can be better understood. And so that you as a reader can maybe find one hint that helps reduce your pain. To me, that would be absolutely awesome! But today, I want ALL of you to read what I say and I want ALL of you to DO WHAT I SAY.
    Why? Because I hurt right now. A LOT. Why do I hurt? I want to make up a fancy medical term for it like Clavicular Myositis or Interstitial Ribosis. (Neither exists by the way.) Put simply, I hurt because I was stupid. I was feeling strong and I moved a very small desk upstairs. I overdid it.
    And now I am paying for it. Big time! Here’s the thing though. We all over do it. Because we all have those days when we feel normal. When we have no pain. We wake up and jump out of bed and are halfway to the kitchen before we even realize it. And when we do, it’s like we freeze in place with the realization because we don’t want to jinx it. Or we are about to break into the MC Hammer dance. (You know: STOP! Hammertime! Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh!) But that’s when the trouble starts. We start thinking.
    And thinking is something we should never do. Especially on a good day. Because we start thinking of all the things we can do today. And why not? We feel good. We are not in pain. It’s our Golden Ticket Day. And our houses are total wrecks. (Funny how we will live with it until that day when we feel good.) We start to think and then...We make a list.
    Now we’ve done it. Because lists are dangerous. When we make lists, it becomes all too important for us to finish them. Normal people can finish their lists the next day. But we cannot. We cannot guarantee we will feel well enough to do the work the next day, but more than that, to not finish a list-to us-is to fail. Especially on a good day. And so much has been taken away from us already that we fight feeling like a failure each and every day as it is.
    So on our rare day of feeling good, the first two things we do-think and make a list- set us up for failure from the start. Why? Because we want to be productive. And that’s not such a bad thing. If we do it in the right way. Which brings me back to my story about the desk. It needed to be moved. In the past, I was capable of moving it alone. I just can’t do it anymore. And I should have been able to admit that to myself.
    You see, having a chronic, degenerative illness is all about acceptance. Acceptance of the illness, acceptance of its effects on the body, acceptance of the pain. But the hardest thing to accept is the fact that it is always changing us. Day by day, year by year, it takes more of our abilities away. Whether it’s the ability to open a jar or the ability to walk, these diseases slowly weaken us and we have to accept it. We just do not want to.
    And that is what led me to the place I am in today. A place of pain and humility. Yes, I got that desk into the living room. But I have yet to use it because I injured myself doing so. I have had to rest and lay down since December 6th. (Today is the 16th.) All because I did not want to accept my new level of abilities or admit my limitations. I was feeling great that day. But I acted as if I was the same person I was before I got sick. And I am not.
   None of us are. So do what you will with the tips and advice in my other posts. Read my blogs or not. (Hopefully you do and you laugh.) But please, do this one thing: set your goals appropriately and then lower them. Do NOT injure yourself trying to get done what didn’t get done when you were hurting anyway. Better yet-take yourself to a movie. No one ever overdid it and injured their entire upper back watching Magic Mike XXL! (That I know of…)


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