It can be a lot easier for me to focus on what I don’t have instead of what I do have. It can be a lot easier for me to focus on my flops than on my progress. It can be easier to focus on the bad, the pain, the frustration opposed to the good times, the times I have pain in even one less are of my body, or on mindful contentment. It can be easier to live in self-pity.
But it’s not better.
Today I’m writing about what I do have because, as the rain falls, I need to remind myself.
In the past year quite a few things have happened that I never thought would come to pass, sometimes the fulfillment of needs I didn’t see coming.
I was blessed to be referred by Dr. Z to several awesome doctors who really looked at me as a person (Dr. N and Dr. F-M) and treated my case as holistically as they knew how to. After months of hardship, paperwork, waiting, I got my Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) – not once, but twice…well…yeah (revision surgery). 😛 There’s been so much progress made in understanding my diagnoses, their prognosis, and how to manage them together. Still working on that with my doctors who haven’t given up on me.
My friends and family pulled me through many very rough months. Without them, I would have no Spinal Cord Stimulator. Without their help with the cooking, my freezer would be pretty bare and my house would be dirty. Most of all, however, I know that without them I’d feel very alone. None of them share my diagnoses – for which I’m grateful – but they still love on me, even when I’m not very lovable and saying I don’t look so hot either is a grand understatement. Haha. Many of my friends (and my therapist, who is great) listen to me and really do want to know what’s happening in my life and in my mind and heart. Despite often being couped up at home, I’ve got the great support network that most people in my position could only dream of having.
I have some great CNA’s who have made recovery possible. They help me so much, every day. Showering, dressing, preparing meals, laundry, and last but not least (to someone who stays at home) SOCIALIZATION. 🙂 With a total of 7 months of movement restrictions, getting any of these things done myself would have worn me out so much that I wouldn’t have been able to do anything else for the rest of the day. They have been a Godsend.
I’m walking some. Much more than I could before my SCS and while I have been in CRPS/RSD flares. For a long while I’d thought I’d never walk again and I was almost ready to give up trying. Glad I didn’t and God sustained me! Being able to walk is nice.
It’s great to be able to drive again. This is a biggie! I wasn’t able to do that for most of the months in the last year due to various medical reasons. Now I drive short to moderate distances and that gives me a lot more freedom. Getting groceries and saying hi to the butcher, saying hello to my pharmacists or bank tellers or Walmart greeters is exciting! (Don’t rain on my parade! I get my kicks where I can.)
Speaking of driving, I have some friends who spent many hours and I have no idea how much money to get my car in better, safer, shape. My air conditioner works, my windows have tint to help the car stay cooler, my brakes are fixed, there isn’t a puddle in the floorboards of my car, the windows roll down (and up), and best of all, I have a REMOTE CAR STARTER which allows me to cool the car before getting in (helps prevent passing out and all those not-so-lovely thingies).
So many times God and friends has provided for my needs. Sometimes it was just funds coming in at the right time to help with mounting expenses, usually the medical kind not covered by insurance. Other times it was a particular item, even special clothing, I needed but couldn’t afford. One of my favorites was my cooling vest (a Dysautonomia necessity), nearly $200, which was provided by support from a family in my church. Oh, and new tires and rims and cushion parts for my wheelchair – also very necessary. A hospital bed and air mattress, then a gel mattress, a drop-arm commode I got for $25 at a thrift store last-minute, etc. These have helped me through my recovery. At other times it was a friend stopping by during one of those moments when I was stuck in an odd situation and about to get hurt without help! (Or, more likely, when I was about to do something I wasn’t supposed to be doing but I was being stubborn and was feeling determined to do it anyways…..not that I ever did that within 7 months….no no no…..)
I believe God has lead me in making some very difficult decisions about my health and relationships this year, and I’m grateful that He speaks to me through His Word and others and that He answers prayers. I haven’t been able to attend church all the time this year, but it’s made me more grateful for my church and what I miss when I can’t go.
Because I’ve spent a lot of time in bed, I’ve been able to read good books and think and write (more journaling than blogging). I wasn’t able to do as much of that while working. I’ve made some progress in coping with a “new normal” and I have hopes of moving forward in contentment.
Resourcefulness. I’m glad God gave me a talent in this department, because I’ve used it daily. Resourcefulness not just with finances but also with using what I already have to make something needed that I do not own or that doesn’t yet exist. In other words, Assistive Technology. Creativity and problem-solving. I don’t know how I would get through all this if God had not given me these talents, and I hope in the future to use these talents more to help others. Praying for opportunities.
Gratitude hasn’t always come easily, but it has come and I’m thankful that I can be grateful rather than being a grouch. That’s all by God’s grace. I’m glad that even when I’m depressed I now know (unlike past years) that there will eventually come a shaft of light and the clouds will lift. With that I have more hope.
While I’ve lived here for several years, I never forget that my apartment is a big blessing. It is handicap accessible with hard floors and a nice kitchen where I can cook all my foods (because I must make everything from scratch on my special diet). My office is separate from my bedroom which makes it easier for me to separate work from rest and have a work-from-home job that doesn’t intrude on other parts of my life (and vice versa).
I went swimming and I had an Un-Birthday party (hard to explain) with friends. I went to a contra dance and danced using my wheelchair. Just a few weeks ago I, with much help from my friends, went on a retreat. It was the first time I’ve traveled for anything non-medical in several years and incredibly refreshing on so many levels. I met this lady named Gina who is like my twin…in disguise. She’s so awesome and really understands me without me having to explain myself! A friend for life.
My Gran and Gramps made it through surgeries, amputation, the hardest of hard times…and they are still here to tell about it. I’m proud of them. They are serious paratroopers!
All that, and so much more (that I can’t remember right now) has happened in the last year.