Attitude is extremely important when dealing with a chronic health problem. I lost my sight when I was 23, which took away my dream of becoming a biochemist and finding cures for the world’s diseases. After many years and many surgeries, I was still legally blind. I had enough vision available to me to put myself through nursing school (if I couldn’t cure them, I could at least nurse them back to health). At 40 I developed Meniere’s disease (an incurable inner ear disease) which nearly cost me my career. After many years of back problems, my back has now flown south for more than just a winter. But I’ve never been one to go down without a fight. After 2 1/2 years of meds, injections, and physical therapy (in the hopes of saving my career), I just had to file for permanent disability and was approved.
My mother always called me an incurable optimist. I’ve always had a incurably positive attitude about everything in life. Laughter is also important, it always makes you feel good. Don’t get me wrong, life’s not all peaches and cream, I have my moments. I’ve found that being able to complete just 1 small thing can make me feel very satisfied. I’m not going to be slaying any more dragons, but I can snip off a piece of it’s tail from time to time. When I have a day that the pain is just being relentless and nothing I do seems to help, I curl up on the couch and throw a movie in that is either funny or really enjoyable (something that makes me feel good inside) and call it a mental fitness day for me. If the pain is making me see red with anger/frustration, I throw in a nice action movie. Sometimes I’ll curl up on the couch with my tablet of graph paper and some nice classical music playing and draw house plans (a long time hobby). I do things that I enjoy, things that relax me, and things that make me feel good inside, as long as it doesn’t require me to move much.
It’s really easy to get sucked into the depressed and hopeless cycle. I find that when I do nothing but sit around feeling the pain, it’s very depressing. I try to make sure that I get out of bed (which isn’t all that difficult since it usually hurts more to stay in bed), clean myself up, and get dressed. And if that’s all I manage to do that day, then it’s far better than doing nothing. It’s still an accomplishment and accomplishing ANYTHING makes me feel better. I may make a lot of gunting, moaning, and ouching while I’m doing it, but at least I did it.
Ummm, sorry for being so long winded (I’ve long been called a chatterbox). I’ll end my novel by letting folks in on a few secrets I’ve discovered. Did you know that nicely padded office chairs are good for more than just sitting at your desk? They’re great for vacuuming. They roll so nicely. They do pose a bit of a problem at the stairs, but stairs are good for sitting on as well as standing on.