Last week I received some majorly bad news about my health (or lack of it). It was truly devastating for my family. Though I did IV antibiotics just to please other people (I always felt in my gut that it wasn’t going to help) I couldn’t help but hold onto a little hope that something would change, so I’ve been in denial about the whole thing. I have been so much in denial that I almost didn’t tell anybody about my latest lab results (or lack of results, as nothing has changed) but I figured the people who care about me would want to know so I posted it on the good ‘ol blog and then shared it with everybody on Facebook.In my state of denial I didn’t want to talk about it in person. The result was a wonderful outpouring of love and friendship. So many wonderful people reached out to me to let me know they were sorry that things weren’t getting better and that they were thinking of me. It was a wonderful reminder to me of what is really important in life. Sure my body is falling apart and I’m like the walking dead, but I have a good life and I can get through this because I am not doing it alone. Don’t get me wrong, I hate feeling like crap and I have my moments where I want to throw things and scream about how unfair life is, but as my father used to say to me “fair is where you go to see the pigs.”
The truth is life is not fair, it’s not fair that I was born in America where I have always had adequate access to food while kids in Africa starved, but that’s the way it is. It’s not fair that all the other 28 year olds in America are able to have a career, a family, and run marathons while I’m stuck watching them from my couch, but that’s the way it is, so I’m just going to have to learn to deal with it. And I think slowly but surely I am learning to deal with it. There are less and less tearful episodes about things I cannot do that other people get to do. More and more I’m getting better at enjoying what I can do and not taking even those little things for granted. I suppose this is the “chronic” part of chronic illness. The truth is while I may get better some, I will never be fully better, so I might as well accept it. That doesn’t mean I don’t get jealous when a friend announces another pregnancy or skiing in the Alps or when they post all their marathon training stats on Facebook (I won’t lie, I have deleted friends for that reason, so if you are an exercise freak and we’re still Facebook friends, know that you must be pretty special to have made the cut), but I’m learning to deal with it.
I’ve realized that I need to not define myself by what I can do, but who I am as a person. That’s not easy to do as we are all trained from a young age to define ourselves by what we do (ie what’s your major? or what do you do? is always the first question you get when you meet someone). It’s so important for us sickies to find something else to define ourselves by, but it’s one of the hardest things to do!