Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why I Still Go Out Even Though It Hurts


    I spent this past summer taking care of my mom. She had knee surgery and then fractured her back. So I haven’t had the chance to really go out and enjoy the summer. Well, considering how hot the summer was, I’m not sure I would have actually gone out, but that’s not the point. The point is, even though it’s difficult and often painful, I still chose to go out and do stuff at times. And that’s not only OK, it’s necessary. Because if all I do is play it safe and avoid what might cause me pain, I’d never actually live.
    Case in point: This past weekend, there was a festival about an hour from where I live. I really wanted to go. A friend from high school designs jewelry and had a tent there. But driving longer distances is very painful for me now and I don’t like driving alone. So I got my husband to drive me and we set out.
    When we got there, it was chaos. I haven’t been to Naples in a long time so my memories are of a much smaller event! Now there are blocks of vendors.  You should know I’m someone who loves wandering and looking at stuff. At garage sales, antique malls, craft sales…  But I also know my limits. So I messaged my friend to get her location to eliminate getting lost. About 2 ½ blocks away. Not bad, not great, but I made it and we had a great time.
    Anyone with Sjogren’s or who knows about Sjogren’s knows that sunshine drains our lifeforce. It was really sunny and I was drained by the time I got to the car after several stops on the way back. Now, it’s two days later and I’m still recovering. Yesterday, I slept until 1:30pm. Today, my muscles feel like noodles. So the question is, why put my body through all that?
    And there’s no easy answer. In one respect, I do it because I want to. Not that I want to hurt. I want to go out and see people. I wanted to see my friend and see all her beautiful jewelry. This is stuff she started after high school, after we lost touch. I have another high school friend I struggle to go see at book club meetings. Not as hard as going to the festival, but sometimes, just getting out of bed is tricky. But I want to see these people so I do. My alternative is sitting home alone.
    Another reason I go is the fact that I still can. I realize I just stated that going out is causing me several days of recovery, but the simple fact of the matter is that I can still go out. My future is uncertain. I don’t like admitting that. But it’s true. I know it will be painful. I’m already there. But this disease is degenerative and no one knows the path it will take. It can take my mobility by taking my joints. It can take my strength by taking my muscles. It can even take my intellect by taking my brain. So, I need to continue to do what I can now even though there may be consequences.
    But the final reason to do things even though they may cause pain or long recovery periods is the fact that when it’s over and I’ve succeeded, I feel a boost of self esteem, at least for a bit. This disease has taken so much and will continue to take much more, that showing myself I can still do some of the things I want to do is very important. Everyone needs that type of boost now and then, especially those of us who are being faced with our inabilities more and more rather than our abilities. It’s disheartening and depressing. So getting out and doing thing we enjoy is necessary for as long as we are able.
    And we are able. Just maybe not as much as we were. But we are able!

*Spoon Necklace by Marlene Turner Design

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