Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What I Can Do

I am a warrior. Sitting here typing on my sofa in my pajamas at 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon I will say it again. I am a warrior. And each person reading this with a chronic or silent illness that gets up each day to fight another fight is too, for this is not easy. It is supposed to be, according to vast numbers of medical professionals and various friends and family members. But it just ain't, and no amount of arguing will convince me otherwise. When I am not bitter and angry, and some ignorant person with no true knowledge of what getting smacked to the ground every few years with a new life-threatening illness is like inserts their criticism on how I handle my toil, I laugh at them. I know full well if they walked a block in my shoes they would crumble and fall before even reaching the intersection. They don't know what I know, though, and this can be infuriating. Because when I am bitter and angry it brings me to my knees.

From the earliest age humans seek acceptance from their peer group. It starts in kindergarten, maybe sooner. No kid in elementary school wants to stand out. They want to be just like their friends, for people accept what they have in common. By the time some venture to junior high standing out may not seem like such a bad thing, having watched all those kids morph into clones of the popular ones in their effort to gain this elusive acceptance. In high school kids splinter off into different groups based on their interests or circumstances. If I recall correctly the only ones who still think everyone wants to be just like them are living out their glory days in homeroom wearing letterman jackets. Hopefully most of the rest have gotten a clue by then. So considering this innate need for approval is it any wonder harsh criticisms are so hard to hear? I want it all back. Health, friends, financial stability, a job, reciprocal relationships where I don't take more than I give. And my innocence too. Believing life is somewhat fair, hard work and perseverance can conquer all of life's ills, feeling like I have something called control over my existence. So when I get a sanctimonious moron telling me how I should behave and respond to my challenges, well my reaction is not usually very pretty. Which has caused me to slash and burn personal and professional relationships with the aplomb of Keyser Soze. With all we face, who on earth has time for that? But I'm not gonna lie, it hurts. Not being understood sucks. Judged by trial and jury in the court of public opinion is painful. Not nearly as painful as Fibromyalgia, though.

Taking responsibility for my illnesses has been hard. I didn't ask for them, don't want them, and certainly am not willing to hand my life over to them. I am responsible, though, for how I survive them. We patients have options. We can be angry and bitter, sure. Quite frankly I think we are entitled to a little bit of that. But hanging onto it for a lifetime, who does that ultimately hurt? We can deny their existence or severity. I tried that one too, a few times, and it only made me much much sicker, so wasn't really that great of an option either. Or we can take a big fat swig out of the bottle of truth, followed by a chaser of gumption, and dig deep inside and find that fight. The strength necessary to get to the other side of so much hurt and pain and anger and frustration. Believe it or not, after enough gulps and swigs, the path out of the mire of this mess appeared in front of me. It was one tiny little brick at first. I was not even sure it was attached to anything else, but I jumped and prayed with all my might. And another brick appeared, so I stepped. A couple crumbled, a few more tumbles, and a much stronger woman than I could have ever hoped to become now sits inside me. Is it easy or obvious how to handle chronic illness? No. Is the path to successfully managing it individual to each person and circumstance? Yes. So go be you, in all your complex and wonderful wonderfulness. Forge your own path, find your own way out of the oppression of living life sick. After a while I realized the only ones with the problem were the people sitting there worried about what I was doing, all the while neglecting their own lives, while I sipped lemon margaritas and danced in the rain.

Thanks for joining,


  1. I so agree that we are warriors! We stick together!


  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Just today I ignored yet another sanctimonious, smart-a** remark, from a relative no less, who has no understanding whatsoever of all the medical problems I am facing. I would give anything to have her health. I know how selfish that sounds. I don't care anymore. Give me 24 hours in her shoes. I want to bounce my grandson in my arms, go for a jog, buy my own groceries, go somewhere with my husband besides the doctor's office. I wold like to finish a sentence without asking for help. And most of all, I want to have a conversation with someone like her that doesn't include a smart remark or stupid advice about "if you didn't tell people you were sick all the time" or "maybe you should take up gardening". To go with the fibromyalgia, I have COPD (there goes the gardening), seizures, migraines, unexplained iron deficiency, and unexplained vitamin deficiency. At age 46, my life has come to a screeching halt. And these are the things people want to say to us? I wasn't even asking for help. I never ask for help. But God help her if I ever get my wish for 24 hours in her shoes. She may not get those shoes back.

    1. I have learned to be grateful for each day, even the bad ones. The lessons I have learned about myself & others through my own experience have given me tremendous insight. I am eternally grateful for the people in my life who support me unconditionally. They give me hope and strength. I am inspired to be like them. My wish for all who suffer is peace, comfort and the knowledge that people like me know you are suffering, it isn't a choice and I truly and completely understand.

  3. Caught up on your Blogs and feeling empowered!
    I am a Warrior!

  4. Bravo !
    : )
    From another Warrior !

  5. I have stayed away a couple of days out of fear that 15 people would have read my ranting comment and suggest I be locked up. Yes, it was a bad day, but those are all I seem to have these days. I apologize for unloading on you, a group of strangers. I have felt so guilty since I did that. But I could truly use some advice. My parents are coming in from out-of-state for a visit, and while they have been told I have these problems, their knowledge does not go beyond the terminology. How can I explain to them what is wrong with me, without over-explaining to a couple of 70 year olds who have to go back home in a week or two? Thank you.