This has been a difficult 7 days. Getting our washer, dryer, and dishwasher has now become an ongoing nightmare. My uncle died. A friend’s baby died. Another friend’s brother died. My sister is not feeling well. I mean just a mountain of pain. As someone who desires to help, there really isn’t much I can do right now. I am in the place where I have to experience the pain that I often deal with in others.
The best part about all of this is the birth of a little girl to another friend of mine. I am not a “baby person” but in these times we celebrate every single thing that we can because we need every ounce of joy we can find. I suppose at times we must shed our tears while we smile and that is ok.
The next few days will fly by. Funerals I can’t attend, a memorial to plan, a new life to welcome into this world, phone calls, paperwork, cards, and so much more will happen. I know that while life moves on for most of us, a few of us will be stuck in moments of time experiencing the surreal feeling of unexpected stillness. My aunt will have coffee alone, but I expect for a while she will make enough for two. My friend will walk up her stairs every night and come face to face with a baby-less nursery. My own mother will only have one sibling to speak of in the present tense.
While I was going through my brain stuff, my uncle was going through his cancer stuff. Multiple myeloma. A piece of me feels awful because my mother made the choice to be here with me instead of spending more time back East with her brother. As a mother I would definitely make the same decision in that circumstance, but as a girl who has lost her brother I know how badly she wanted to be there to support him. I am grateful to have a mother who is willing to sacrifice almost everything to help me. I am glad that she made it back out there and was able to spend time with him before he passed.
What does all of this have to do with Chiari? Well, life doesn’t stop happening because we had surgery or can’t get up some days. Just as I affect my family, my family affects me. I don’t wish to have a headache AND mourn, but I don’t really have a choice. Chronic illness doesn’t really take a day off. Trying to make sure that my emotional turmoil doesn’t translate into increased symptoms is a mixture of therapy, coffee, yoga, the gym, cartoons, music, and blogging.
If you have a chronic condition just make sure to listen to your body when you are going through ANY difficult situation. Dealing with emotional pain takes a lot of energy and there is nothing wrong with handling it in whatever way is healthiest for you. When I got the news, I had about six hours before I was emotionally run down and I turned off all of my devices , put my CPAP on, and went to sleep. I woke up, went to the gym, then went back to bed. Did I miss phone calls and text messages? Sure! Did I get back to everyone when I was well rested and emotionally available? Yep! Everything survived when I took a break for myself and NOBODY was upset.
If you are just peering into the lives of the chronically ill and pained I invite you to imagine how the world would go on if your leg broke. Now, imagine that everyday except maybe your leg broke off and now you have some medical issues. You may have also developed depression. Also your bladder doesn’t work right. This is your new life. You get to keep all the hassles of your old life (bills, mortgage, cooking, taxes) but now you get to marry them to all of your new problems. Also, you still have the unexpected auto breakdown, dead fridge, and air conditioning troubles. Then…BOOM! Tragedy! On top of ALL that other life stuff. You would want to lock yourself away sometimes.
It’s alright to take time for yourself when you need to. People may think that you are lazy or disinterested, but those people can’t appreciate what you go through on a normal day, let alone a day when something is very wrong. You know your true intentions and that is all that matters.