Writing about my own medical issues and personal situations is subject matter I did not plan on speaking about on this blog. Since now I have a positive outcome, I feel I can share with others my own life lessons on how to handle chronic medical issues. It is my hope that this series may be of use to someone. I will break the subject matter into parts and post in between my other blog posts.
First let me say that I am grateful for my current good health, and I do not put what I have gone through in any way equal to the life changing situation that a friend of ours endures, which is the result of brain surgery due to a ruptured aneurysm. My own journey may have been difficult, and even still have it's ups and downs, but I always try to remember that no matter your situation in life, someone else is having a more difficult time. I try to be grateful for what I can do in life, even when it has only been breathing.
My reemergence into feeling healthy took about three years to materialize. Now the light has begun to be visible in my life once again, and even to others. I feel I have regained the strength to look back on some dark days and pull out the lessons. We never lost hope, but there were times it seemed like it was going to become "the never ending story of medical world." For two and a half years I had medical appointments every single week. I am not kidding about that fact at all. That was our reality. I had to keep a chart of where to be and what medication to be taking. Quite a boring subject to talk about to someone when they ask casually "how you are doing?" For a long time I said nothing to anyone. Who wants to hear about this stuff? When I did not attend my husbands events, he would just say that I did not feel well. Perhaps interpreted as if I had a passing cold. Ben certainly did not want to go into details about our current lifestyle of constant doctor visits and procedures. After awhile I realized people may be thinking that I am not attending Ben's gigs because I am disinterested. Not so. The truth is I could not walk across my own living room. Running my organs and just breathing was all my body could handle. Well thank goodness for that!
I have no insurance and have for years avoided medical visits completely unless it was my last resort. I might call a doctor friend once a year to get a prescription. My physical life radically changed shortly after I got married to the soul mate that I had been waiting for all my life. I thought, "this is not happening during my happily ever after!" Well It was happening, and I cannot deny how it took over our lives. Eventually after you have spent every night lying in bed vibrating like an old lawn mower, and hoping your are not having a heart attack, you change your mind about contacting a doctor. If you really want to live...you have to call on someone to help you. What happened then is a story to be told in a later series post.
The frustrations of things not getting any better, then more body systems going out of whack would be overwhelming. All one could do was take it one day at a time...for real. I often wondered if it would all ever stop and I could one day again live my life as I had envisioned. I saw myself as a healthy vibrant woman enjoying her loved ones as well as having something to contribute to the world. So I would chant to myself over and over, "I am not my body... I am not my body...I am spirit having a human experience"
I also needed to recognize while I live in this world, I did have a body, and I would have to deal with my broken systems. I just could not get lost in the body issues or the mental game of ever feeling sorry for myself. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was just letting other people do things for me. After all I was the eldest child and mother figure to five siblings, a single working mom to my own children, and eventually was a woman who started her own business. I was tough and could do it all myself. Being unable to clean my house, work in the garden, and take care of other normal everyday chores was downright weird. I was too young to feel like ninety! Truth is I did feel that old, and I kept asking "why?" Where did the "me" that I knew and loved go? Why doesn't it stop? Why are more things getting added to my list of things wrong with my body? When will this end...if ever? Year after year. I was supposed to be better by now.
I lived on our sofa for months at a time and stared at the world passing me by. When we would leave for a doctor or lab appointment. My husband had to hold onto me, and carefully walk me down the few steps to the car. I shuffled along to wherever I needed to be hoping someone would give me good news. It just got to be more of the same...just a different day. Really? When will this stop happening? What do I need to do? How can I approach this differently? Is this my new life? How can I get the most out of where I am at now? My medical issues had combined into a cocktail that put my body systems out of balance. One by one they would need to be addressed to lighten the load on my messed up vehicle. I will write about what my personal medical issues are in future posts. Right now I want to speak to that feeling of frustration with the unknown. You cannot live in fear of anything. You must understand the Universe loves you and remind yourself of this fact often. Yes you will whimper and cry, and yes you will get sad about your situation. You cannot live that everyday though. Look for the good. My blessing is having a husband who is like no other man I have known. No one else in my life would have taken care of me the way this man has done. Thank goodness I am with him at this time in my life!
After listening to friends speak about the various health concerns that start to creep up on us at our age, I found that many take their doctor's word about everything and do not think to question this authority figure. Since I was over-run with a plethora of ailments and had to see numerous medical personnel I can say 60% of those medical personnel or systems I encountered made mistakes. Those mistakes affected my quality of life every time. So it is with a strong recommendation that my first "tip" is to keep a personal medical log book of all lab tests, including your own records of blood pressure and weight from any doctor visit. You need to know your own history and body. This also gives you the real information from which to look up what everything means on the internet. You become better informed and ask important questions of your doctors. So please start keeping a medical log notebook now if you have any medical concerns with your health. Get a notebook and a three hole punch. Put section tabs for your basic info such as weight and blood pressure readings, a section for those papers that come from the pharmacy explaining your prescriptions, another section for lab tests, notes, and a section for the medical bills as well. Your doctors will be happy you did this as it helps them be current with your information. Bring it to every doctor and lab visit. You will have a clear record to catch and correct mistakes. I will talk about those errors in another post.
During your personal trials of life just try to be grateful for anything positive you can find, and concentrate on those things, however little. The mind is a powerful tool and will multiply what you think about, and manifest it in your life. This is because the Universe reflects your thoughts. So I kept visualizing perfect health.
While unable to walk around and participate in my own life, I still could sit and watch my grand daughter playing and growing before my eyes. That is a treasure. So while you are in the thick of it, just keep the light near and remember who you really are.
Disclaimer:I am not a doctor and this series is not to be taken as medical advice, so please consult with your medical professional about any medical issues you may be experiencing.
Top Illustration and photo, "The Continuing Storm" by Crystal Visions Art
Textures: Shadowhouse Creations
Bottom Illustration by Crystal Visions Art: Frame: Shadowhouse Creations,
Elements and Textures: Crystal Visions Art and Studio Gypsy (retired)