Double dang!! There are some days that troubleshooting illness and comfort has to be set aside for surviving. There is not as much fun in it but the victories sure are bigger.
We have all had our physical and emotional crisis while enduring and moving through chronic illness. Mine is no worse than yours and yours is no worse than mine. They are all unique experiences to us and yet they are a common thread that ties us together.
“This stinks” comes to mind. Double dang and stink do not begin to describe it but I know you know what I am talking about.
The ups and downs of chronic illness are disappointing, to say the least. We don’t have to be happy with the situation to be capable of dealing with it.
So how do we deal with it? As you well know, we just do it.
One of my favorite sayings that you will hear me often say… Do you know how to eat an elephant? ONE bite at a time. Don’t focus on the whole elephant, only focus on the next bite.
I don’t eat elephants but I do have physical struggles bigger than my capacity at times, just like you.
Surviving Trumps Troubleshooting
Timeout for troubleshooting. I have bigger fish to fry today.
I have a heart condition, caused by vascular disease gone-a-muck. It is aggravated by my inflammation gone wild.
When it is at its worse, I have ended up with a 100% blocked ascending aorta with organs shutting down from loss of oxygen and blood flow. Repeated heart failure that would scare the dickens out of anyone.
Been there done that, not interested in going back.
Yet, here I am with my heart acting up again, inflammation rising again, sleep apnea at night. Good grief.
This last week I have woke up to my heart screaming for help every night. I am beyond grateful that I actually am woken up by this instead of dying in my sleep like many do. I have heard endless stories of this exact scenario and the amounts of people who die in their sleep from this. Instead of letting fear grip me, I choose to believe that my body will continue waking me like it has so far.
So, how am I choosing to deal with it? One bite at a time.
A bed is arriving tomorrow. I have been on an air mattress for almost a year. I need more comfort so I can get more and better sleep.
The weather turned cold and that cooled off my air mattress so much that I am shivering all night. I have babesia (cousin to malaria). With it comes chills and sweats. When I cannot regulate my body temperature, it has bigger swings. So the chills at night turn into shivering I cannot control.
I need to organize and clean my bedroom for the bed but my body is not cooperating. Survival trumps troubleshooting. Today is just one bite at a time.
My bed frame was filled with stuff from my bedroom while my air mattress took up floor space. I got most of it moved out of the bed frame when I first woke up this morning. Got winded, inflammation increased, heart skipped a few beats, I sat down, got my feet up.
You get the picture. You have done the same scenario before, only with your specific details.
Mopping the wood floor under my bed seems too big of a task while I sit here resting from what little I already did this morning.
I am not physically able to do all the housework but I have not had any offers of help so it is what it is. I really don’t like that saying but that is the reality at times.
So, I feel overwhelmed by the next 24 hours. I have already asked for the bed company to take the cover that was purchased and “enclose” my mattress when they deliver it. That is not something that is within my abilities, not even close. They will do that part for me.
Common sense says that if I can get my bedroom floor mopped before the bed comes tomorrow that I will sleep even better because another layer of dust will be gone. But if it is not within my capacity to do it, then I am back to “it is what it is.”
Prioritizing Survival, The Plan…
- Choosing NOT to risk more heart failure is a wise choice. I might be frustrated, but choosing wisely keeps me alive.
- Staying alive gets me to tomorrow when the bed comes.
- Having a real bed creates more comfort.
- More comfort creates better sleep which lowers my inflammation.
- When the inflammation backs off, my heart calms down and starts beating closer to normal.
- When the inflammation backs off my vascular troubles back off significantly.
- When heart and vascular troubles back off, I am much calmer because I am not in survival mode.
- The calmer I get the closer I am on a healing journey OUT of this mess, instead of getting stuck.
There, I have a plan. Plans like this help to keep me calm and yet still moving forward instead of getting gripped by fear, paralyzed and stuck. Your plan needs to work for you and your health. It will not be the same as my plan.
Yep, I get tired of it all just like you do. I also know that as we keep going another round of survival mode, we learn more about our bodies and our limits.
The first heart attack I had I was so clueless that I did not even have an understanding of the whole situation. Looooook at me now!!!! I know how to stay calm, stay within my physical limitations and keep a smile on my face.
One bite at a time. Each setback comes with the victory of survival.
Maribeth Baxter, MBNC (Certified Mind-Body Nourishment Coach)
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