Sunday, July 17, 2016

Not Running a Marathon, but Taking Victories Wherever I Can

It happened again this week; I read a story online about a disabled person who ran a marathon or was it climbed a mountain? It doesn't really matter. In this particular article though the person talked about how hard they pushed themselves and how it affected them afterward. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for those of us in the chronic illness, disability community for setting goals and obtaining them, but somehow these stories seem to diminish what some of us can do. It also sets us up for criticism from family and friends when we're unable to do what seems to others to be the smallest of tasks, while others are pushing themselves (which can be dangerous for some of us) to climb mountains or run marathons.

Here's a little bit of what I've been able to accomplish these past few weeks. I guess it won't be published online or in a magazine as it's not inspirational enough. But, I'll take my victories wherever I can no matter how small they may seem to others.

1. I took a shower and washed my hair in the same day! I used my shower chair, though, so maybe that's not quite as inspiring to some folks. Also, I did have to lie down afterward for about a half hour, which, honestly, was an improvement over some days.

2. I cooked dinner two nights this week! Yay me! But, we had leftovers for four nights and went out for one. I should get some recognition for those two nights of cooking, though. 

3. I went to my son and daughter-in-law's apartment and waited for the cable installation man to come. I was there for four hours. Healthy people could never imagine how something like that can make someone with a chronic illness sick. I sat, reclined and read for the whole time. It wasn't climbing a mountain, but it did push me to my limit, and when I got home I crashed and slept for two hours. 

4. I ate a meal and was able to stay at the table with my family for a lively discussion. Many times, I have to head straight to bed as my body doesn't always seem to have the energy to digest food and be upright and talking at the same time, but this was a good day.

5. I helped my daughter and son-in-law move, unpack and clean their new house. It was a lot of fun and very exciting to see them take another step in their adult lives. But, after helping several days in a
row, it began to take its toll on my body. I spent a few days recovering and had to let some of my own housework go.

I'm not sharing these things for sympathy; I'm only trying to prove a point. My victories may be smaller than someone's who's in good health, but that doesn't make them just as difficult, or just as fulfilling for that matter. What is important is that all of us are respectful of others who face challenges no matter what they may be. Being ill isn't a contest. Also, those who are healthy need to realize that not all illnesses are the same, and even the same disorder may present itself differently in two people. 

Let's all celebrate the woman who can run a marathon, but not forget the woman who can't; her marathon may be something completely different, but it's still hers to accomplish. 


  1. Your day sounds like a lot of my days. We need to keep talking about what's typical and normal, not the exceptions.

  2. I'm glad I'm not alone. You're right, those of us in the chronic illness community need to spread awareness about the reality of our lives. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Thank you! My list is almost identical to yours. Except I go let my SILs dog out at lunch which sometimes makes climbing a mountain seem on the same level.
    I feeling less alone tonight.

    1. Susie, It's so nice of you take help with your SILs dog! I'm glad you could take something away from my post. Of course, I don't wish this life on anyone, but the fact that we can understand one another's pain, definitely makes the journey less lonely. Thanks for your reply.

  4. Acknowledging the little victories is so important when you're chronically ill. My list would be similar to yours, but I don't cook- my husband does.

    1. Brittany, Thanks for your comment. I do think we have to acknowledge our small victories and also help others with chronic illnesses to do the same. It's great that your husband cooks. Every little bit of help really does make a difference, doesn't it?