Nature gave me a call I didn’t want to receive. I’m constantly talking about how I feel, what hurts, what I think triggered a flare, when in time did my body start going overboard. Since I went on a no-fun diet (allergen and trigger free), I’m hyper aware of whats about to happen if I don’t maintain strict adherence to the green-light foods. I can’t help but coddle this autoimmune disease in order to preserve some health and sanity. When my body rings the alarm, I cannot ignore it. My diagnosis is recent, so the first few months, I reckon there will be a bit of attention going toward a kind, non-overbearing regimen. In December, there was a lot to think about, some tears (mostly of relief to finally know what the heck was happening). Then there is the treatment to follow, blah, blah, blah. It’s nonstop chatter about medical issues this, connective tissue that.
However, I say to myself and anyone else living with chronic symptoms, hang up on it and deal with it on your own terms. The easy thing to do would be to give in, let it control every aspect of me, back activity and creativity into a corner. I’m not saying to pretend the problem isn’t there, but there is only so much you can do about it. There must be limits before the disease takes over your personality. Mind over matter, people! The body may dictate what aches and pains you will have, but the mind can still decide if its going to be sad about it or proactive.
I’m not claiming it is easy. There are days where I have to baby each and every little obstacle I face, mostly just disbelief that this is actually happening. I need to ramble and vent and throw things at walls. I will call my mom, my most patient listener, and talk her head off. Oh, I measure the outgoing content because there’s only so much people can or want to hear about being sick before you bring them down or come off as desiring a pity party. Then I text, email, or call the sister. Bless her heart, it’s taken her years to learn to process a turbo-charged motor mouth go on and on about red dye #40 and tingling in my knees. The husband, my diagnosis is his sentence as well, so I need to limit how I express myself to him so the masculine energy doesn’t freak out as he learns that women beating a subject to death doesn’t mean we’re dying, it’s just how we reach our conclusions. My mother-in-law, the saint that gets it the most, dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis herself, is a great escape because we both can jabber on until the sun comes up. I’ve got an arsenal of sweet friends that listen to me in different ways. Some play therapists, the defendant, the cheerleaders, and some that threaten the universe for all the bad things happening.
But you have to see it from the point of view of an outsider viewing in. I’m not ready to hear people whisper “She’s a completely different girl after she got sick.”
“All she talks about is her issues.”
“She’s become dependent on whining.”
“Remember how fun she used to be?”
“I’m sick and tired of hearing about all the environmental things that are going to kill us all!”
But that’s where I’m learning to draw the line. This is something you live with, not something should take over. For someone with control issues, I know how to accept what I can and cannot and where I can circumvent the problem and come through another way. Every once in a while, hang it up. Let the symptoms run in the background, but listen to everything else that remains the same and has room to grow.