Over all the years that I have not felt well I would always just kept pushing myself on and on. I would just do all that had to be done with no regard or thought that taking care of myself may help me feel better. Besides I had a family to take care of how in the world could I ever find the time to take care of myself? Well, that was until five years ago when the illness struck hard, hard enough to knock the wind out of my sails. When I was really sick and couldn't move much it was ok that I was unable do anything. The most I could accomplish back then was either hoping I would die or hoping that the next day I would wake up feeling better. Finally, after many meds and a year of regulating them to a dose that restored me back somewhat of a life it all started to sink in. Life had to change for me. I had no choice. Believe me I fought it and I fought it hard. I am stubborn as hell and there is no way I was going to have to give up the things I loved doing. I tried as hard as I could to go back to the way things were but it just wasn't working. Every time I would do something I would pay and pay dearly. Then, over time I began to realize maybe I really was never going to be able to go back to the person I was. I had to start dealing with the "new" me.
Think of life, yours or mine, as a large hot air balloon. Inside that balloon are all the things that make up the person you are. All the things you love to do, of course this balloon is different for everyone. My balloon was filled with so many things. I loved to garden, cook, clean, help others, go to the Hospice House and cut hair for the patients there, get together with my friends for coffee or lunch, have parties at our house, along with many other little hobbies. Sadly, I had to give a lot of this up when I got very sick. I fought the idea that I would never get back to my old life for many years. I cried, I became very depressed at times especially when I would look out the window and see our yard or have to watch Rich doing it all after a long hard day at work. It was like I lost some of my best friends and I had to learn how to live without them. I know it sounds silly but you can never imagine this until it happens to you.
Finally in the past year I have come to term with my new life. Now my hot air balloon looks somewhat like one of those rubber bouncy balls you get out of the gumball machines. My hot air balloon has deflated into something very small but none the less I still have a ball. I sit now and make cards to send to others who need some encouragement. Or I find happiness in others joy. Listening to others talk of their lives brings me joy, as crazy as that sounds. I find happiness in my grandchildren on the days I watch them. The times I tell them Nana is tired and has to rest and I lay on the floor all sprawled out while they kiss and jump on me. The simple pleasures or even the nuisances for some are a joy for me, they are my life now! Material things mean nothing to me. Really! I don't care about stuff anymore. Not that I don't like things that make life easier for me or entertain me but I have no big wants in life besides love and joy. It is hard to explain this.
I have lost so much because of my illness, even friends. It is hard to be friends with a sick person who can never go out and has to cancel a lot. Many people just can't handle that and only want you to get better. I am not complaining I totally understand. You find the people who can handle it and you treasure their love and support. I still do have a few of those and I love them more than words can say!
On the other hand I have gained so much more than I ever thought possible five years ago. I have gained an amazing unexplainable, understanding love of my family. The joy of just sitting with them and being. My favorite moments. I have always known how much Rich has been in love with me but illness has brought out more love in that man than I could ever write about. To watch someone sacrifice so much for another human being is the best part of being sick for me. Our love is so much stronger than it has ever been. I use to take our time together somewhat for granted, now I can't get enough of it. Any chance I get to touch, be alone, or be close to him makes me a better person and helps me feel secure through all of this. I really don't know if I could do what he does, but then you never know what you can handle until you are faced with something like this. I thank God everyday for him and his unselfish love.
It is my hope in writing this to help others understand that sick people are really just people. Just because we are sick doesn't mean we are still not people. We need other people to love and accept us just like healthy people do. We still want the perfect life but must make adjustments to live our lives, just like everyone else except we have limits.
Now let me see. I think my little rubber ball is calling me so I must go and try to accomplish something today.
God Bless You All!