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Slip up

“Chronic disease with a positive attitude”.  While I came up with that on my own, there is a definite basis for it.

In the 15 years and 8 months of MY life that my mother was alive, that is how she lived. I never knew my mother to be healthy.  She walked in to my Middle School band concert using a cane (she was in her early 30’s at the time), it was not unusual for her to spend a month at a time in the hospital, and she’d be nauseated and tired between dialysis treatments up until it was the morning of dialysis, when she would then start the vicious cycle all over after her dialysis treatment.

Lately though, I haven’t exactly been following this example.  The first part of the subtitle is one which I have no control over-“chronic disease”, but the last part, “with a positive attitude”,  I one which I do have a LOT of control.  Without going into too much detail, work and life stressors consumed me, and anxiety and sleeplessness were my way of life for the past few months.  But that has resolved; I’m now able to sleep the entire night, and the anxiety is pretty much gone.  A much needed vacation from my full time job did the trick (amongst other things).  I have tons of vacation time, but I try to keep a “cushion” for any unforeseen health crisis, of which I’ve had several since 2005.  I learned my lesson (we continue to learn until the day we die, I suspect).  With 50 vacation days (which remain after last weeks vacation), I can afford to take more than what I’ve been taking, and taking 4 weeks off to recover from major surgery does NOT count as vacation. I’ve also had some job disappointments lately, but I can attest to the fact that when one door closes, another opens.  It’s happened once, and as of today, will probably be happening again in the very near future.

Getting back to my Mom, she was truly my inspiration.  I didn’t realize that at the time, but I do now. And I’ve tried my best to set the same example for my son, who may some day face some of the hurdles I have faced.

I accept the fact that I’ll never be able to do the physical things I’d like to do, like be able to jog, play baseball, or be able to go up and down steps without holding on to a railing. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do other things.  From the time I was young, I’ve compensated for this by developing my mind, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job at that.

I’m fortunate to have made the career change from teacher to nursing, because over the past 27 years in healthcare (24 as a nurse), I’ve seen a lot worse than I’ve had to deal with, which has given me a unique perspective, something that not all people with a chronic illness have had the opportunity to experience.

The point of all of this is, that in dealing with chronic illness (or even the sudden onset of an acute illness), either as the “patient” or as a family member, it’s important to stay positive, while being realistic.  I firmly believe that in order to maintain a stable state of health, much of the “battle” is to maintain a positive state of mind.  Another point is that there may be things you can’t do, but there are things you CAN do.  Take a chance.  Sure, it’s scary making a major life change-as humans, change is difficult. But don’t look at the negatives; rather, think of the positives.  You’re comfortable in your job, but will you regret it later on if you end up in the same job 20 years from now, when you could have made a potential change for the better?  And finally, the last point is that we all slip from time to time, just as I have done.  But when you do, kick yourself in the butt, and get right back up and keep on going.  I hope this post is helpful to someone.

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