Although I was diagnosed nearly 9 mos ago, I still find myself reading old posts and feeling like its new information at times. The sheer magnitude of learning to live differently is probably the biggest challenge I have ever faced.
I am still unable to work, although my time at home often appears rather "normal", I go about my day quietly and depending upon how I feel, accomplish different amounts each day. I can usually keep up with my house, laundry and supper for my husband, but some days not much at all.
I'm very grateful that I have had almost no pain since the initial 3 weeks... And the fatigue and insomnia which was enough to drive me mad all by itself has lessened considerably.
I had an emotional "meltdown" this week, lost my mind temporarily when I was trying to do more than I could do and frustrated with my perception of less than adequate support from my adult daughter (who has two toddlers and her own life to manage). I yelled and cried and hung up on her. Totally shameful behavior. So, I went to see my sisters who are always tremendously supportive ( and are therapists/counsellors by trade) and cried for 2 hours and got it all out.
This is what I think I realized after all was said and done (is anything ever really all said and done?) I am grieving the loss of my old life.
* I am unlikely to ever return to the life I knew for most of my 55 years. Meaning, I am never going to go back to 60 plus hours a week, traveling hundreds of miles daily, hotel stays 3 nights a week... Always squeezing tasks in between other tasks. That high stress, constant pressure corporate life did not serve me well, and my health has to come first.
* I must learn a new way to live. I must learn to pace myself, and allow this to become my way of life. The gauges I used to measure my ability to keep going are gone, and I must learn to implement new ways of measure.
* I cannot trust my emotions or the way I feel at the moment to determine how far I can go. I may be thoroughly happy and enjoying my grandsons but that has nothing to do with measuring how much activity I can continue.
* I must accept that I have no way of knowing what tomorrow will bring, and I must be able to accept and adapt if plans are disrupted because my body needs rest.
* The reason I am so resistant to so much of the above, is because deep down, I am afraid that if I am not the "bigger than life" successful, competent professional that I was, I won't be anyone. That my job is Not who I am. That I can learn to find new ways to be fulfilled, and make a difference. Facing that fear has been very, very difficult for me.
* it is not weak to pamper myself. It is not shameful to stay in bed if I need to. Is is not a cop-out for me to say "no". I am not a failure because my body is sick.
* I must learn to treat myself and my body with the same care and compassion I would offer my patients.
* Life is a process, a journey. We may think we have a pretty good handle on the plan, or the direction; but the truth is that we really don't. Someone once spoke of her attitude toward this condition as being a "dance" rather than battle. I am learning to relax, and stop resisting what is, and accept... And realize that dance requires movement and flexibility.
* I will struggle as long as I resist. Lamenting the loss of my job, my income, my comfort zone, my strength, and my freedom brings me no peace. I will grieve my old life, and I will move on to see what Life has in store for me, because no matter how hard I try, I cannot change it. I choose peace. I choose to dance.