I've been thinking a lot lately. I am much more than my disease. But, it's so easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of doctor's appointments, tests, medications, and just day-to-day living with whatever symptoms your illness may bring. So easy that it will consume you if you let it. I think you really have to make an effort to look outside yourself. I have to say, though, it is especially hard when you are dealing with pain. Pain, especially severe pain, just takes over every fiber of your being.
I liken this whole concept to a parent whose youngest child has just left the nest. If all they have ever done has been a mother (or father), it will be very hard for them to find their place in life. I think in illness, just as in parenting, we have to remember who we are. Who were we before we got sick? Who was that parent before they were a parent? I think what makes this especially hard is the fact that our illness may not allow us to do the things that we used to do. Things that were so much a part of our lives. We, in essence, have to recreate ourselves.
I don't have all the answers. In fact, this is a real struggle for me. I know I've blogged about my worries about my relationship with Tim in regards to our future shared interests. That is still a concern, but finding out who I am and what I can do now is probably more important at this point. It's hard, to be honest with yourself and take the time to think about what your strengths (or weaknesses, for that matter) are. It's hard because chronic illness can really do a number on your self-esteem. It's too easy to dwell on what you can't do than what you can do.
I think as a starting point, for me, the most important (and easiest) thing I can do is to show interest in others, to listen to what they have to say. I've already shared here about my card ministry. Since I've had this latest flair up, I've not sent any cards out. But, I've written a few, and I know I will feel better once I put them in the mail. I will do that today (or tomorrow).
I used to be a news junkie, but since I got sick, it's just been too much to handle. I do think we need to be somewhat informed about what is going on in the world around us. It's really all about moderation, though. Being up on current events not only gives us something to discuss with those around us, it connects us to others outside of our immediate world. I have to get my news in small doses, which is probably the best way for everyone.
Well, I guess I've made somewhat of a point here. Oh, I almost forgot....I talked to the nurse at my doctor's office yesterday, and she said that my ankle Xrays were good, but my knee Xrays showed osteoarthritis. That is not surprising given my age and weight. That may be adding to my current problems, but it's not the cause of them. My blood work was normal!! So, at this point, it looks as though this is Reactive Arthritis. From what I've read, it can last for three to twelve months. In some people, it can become permanent. There is also still the possibility that this is Rheumatoid Arthritis that just isn't showing up in the blood work yet. Time will tell. I really feel at peace and hopeful with this news. I'm pretty sure this all stems from the viruses (bacteria?) I've been dealing with the past few months. Whew! I feel like I dodged a big one there.
Thanks for all of your prayers and support over this past week. They've meant a lot to me. I know I am blessed to have the best family and friends.
Have a blessed day everyone!
"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."~Edmund Burke