Pep Talk

I’ve faced worse, I told myself when the diagnosis came; I’ll get through this too.

And I believe it.   Whatever it takes, I am committed.

That doesn’t mean that the struggle is lessened in any way.  The struggle is very real.

It begins with knowing self.  I’ve never been one to accept anything at face value.

When a doctor told me that I wouldn’t be able to carry a pregnancy to full term because of issues with my back, I thanked him and looked for alternatives – giving birth to three healthy babies, no further problems.

When another doctor told me that I’d likely have to be on mood-altering drugs for life following an acute episode of debilitating depression, I started researching cause and optional approaches, and reached out for support and therapy, successfully avoiding the original prognosis.

thI am willing to do the work, and if it takes trial and error, well that is okay.  At least I’m trying.

The difficulty lies in determining how to measure progress.   I am an action-oriented person, who would rather get a job done and rest later (if there’s room left to rest), but healing doesn’t work this way.  It takes time, and demands patience.  I have to remind myself to step back and re-evaluate from time to time.

Now feels like one of those moments.

If I follow all the literature, and chats, about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis then I might come to believe that the hope for recovery is limited and only ever temporary.  This is not acceptable for me.  I still have life I want to live.  Hell, I’m living life.  The fact that I’m currently experiencing a setback only means that I need to reset, readjust.  It doesn’t mean there hasn’t been progress.

Four months ago, when we left our hometown and headed out on the road, I could barely walk across a parking lot.  In Memphis, I walked a block before my ankle snapped, and still I pushed on, enduring a loud bus tour.  It knocked me out for a few days.

Even when we arrived in Texas, I was still struggling to stand up after sitting for a meal, but I did manage to attend and participate in a couple of watercolour painting classes.  Progress.  In Arizona, with the dry air, I haven’t had to rely on allergy and asthma medication to get me through each day, and my legs are getting stronger.

th-1As imperceptible as change may be day-to-day, it is undeniably present in the bigger picture.  Compared to the beginning of this journey, I can walk further, and when I do get knocked down, the recovery is quicker.  I need to keep this in perspective.  Yes, repercussions did happen after the trip to Sedona, and I am still trying to regain ground. But when I think back to my first specialist appointment, after first becoming ill – 2 1/2 hours out of bed that resulted in a three-week crash – I have come a long way.

This is but one more mountain in a lifetime of mountains.  I am still climbing.


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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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