Three years ago I got a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis that changed my life. I had mounting symptoms for years but it came on suddenly in a more severe form that year. Over the past few years I have learned that I have had to come to a time of acceptance (including 3 more autoimmune disorders that were added on in those years). Acceptance looked more like no longer pretending I am making up the symptoms and finding the line between acceptable pain and affecting too much pain, learning how to let others help and how to say no when it was too much. It was a roller coaster of research and new treatments and new ways of doing things like opening cans and jars and going out for a walk. Now I have accepted that I have a myriad of autoimmune disorders that affect my daily life and always will. I am a pro at giving myself injections and giving myself the day off on methotrexate Monday when the nausea kicks in.
The new place I am at is learning to live within where God has me. This has included major changes in my diet, going gluten and dairy free...because I love to eat.....and food has been the center of entertainment in our house. So I am learning to cook in a new ways. I am learning to make easier meals and spend quality time with the kids in the pool where there is no pressure on the joints and the heat isn't making me ill. I am learning to order in restaurants things that will not make me feel sick (although no gluten and dairy leaves like 2 things to choose from on a menu). Although with this I have also had to let go of the old me in a lot of ways. Its weird that people who have met me at this point in my life will never know the me I was before. I was very active, I loved to dance and play basketball. I mean not competitively or I wasn't even really good, but I liked to have fun! I have to face reality most days, if I choose to get coffee with friends like I did yesterday and the only chairs available are wooden, I will likely spend the rest of the day on the couch in pain or if I go play Top Golf there is a good chance my arms and hands will be useless for a day or 2. I even have to factor in a grocery shop, if it takes an hour I will likely need to come home and rest for a few hours to keep my hips from getting bursitis.
My point is not to complain, but more the realization to not take anything for granted and to realize that life changes, yet still goes on, good and bad. Nothing is stagnant in life, we have choices on how we face new trials. It may be the only way God opens a door in our life to something he has for us. I have through this learned that my husband is a rock star, he will work a full day come out help with dinner, pick up the kids from work, carry things for me and do as much as he can to take stuff off my plate. This is so hard to accept sometimes because I feel like I can't give back as much as he gives, but God has also made me realize that I can be his partner in other ways, I have prayed more for him at this point in our marriage then I have in our entire marriage, I have taken those times I feel good to really try to make the moments count, thinking of what he would like and putting that in the front of my mind. We have created some time for us to sit outside alone and talk about our days. It has forced a certain simplicity to our routines. Another way I have learned this lesson is with new friendships. I have had the fortune of making some wonderful friends in this area, which in past places has eluded me usually due to the sheer amount of toddlers and preschools that circled my feet for the last 10 years.... The old me would have said yes to EVERYTHING even to stuff I didn't want to do, creating resentment and ultimately avoiding long enough to quit (which I am wonderful at). Now I simply have to say no because I cannot and though in that acceptance phase I struggled with the feeling that people would reject my friendship thinking I am lazy or not a good enough friend, I have opened up myself to the things I can do and have found wonderful support from the ladies around me. I am more blessed now in that area then I was when I was "healthy".
Which brings me to the final point, what is healthy.....after 38 years of all sorts of healthy times and unhealthy times I am starting to figure out healthy is when you rely on God for your daily needs and have the support around you who love you for you. If times are good rejoice and if they are awful cry and let it out, but either way remember its all temporary.