Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The New Normal

Of all the changes over the last year, my diagnosis with an autoimmune disorder has been the most disruptive. There's a process that goes with the news that goes from shock to massive relief at having an answer to grief.

Getting to acceptance takes time. It also takes some redefinition: of your life, your activities, and your expectations.

This came up in conversation lately with my husband and a friend of ours. She had come to visit, and asked me how I was feeling.

"I'm doing really well," I said, and meant it. I've healed really well from our youngest's birth, the transition from one kid to two has been as painless as I could have hoped for (which is to say, not painless at all, but far better than I had feared), and I'm rather blissfully happy.

Then, later, when I yawned and rubbed my eyes, she asked if I was tired. I said yes, and mentioned that my pain levels had been up lately.

She frowned at me. "That's what I was asking about earlier."

"She does that to me all the time," my husband said.

I had to explain that it's like this: I'm in pain. Sometimes very little, sometimes a good bit. That's not going to change. Well, it might. I went into remission when I was pregnant, for example. But it very well may not, and it's safer to assume that it won't.

So when people ask how I'm feeling, I have a choice to make. I can base the answer on my pain level, and decide that I'm just going to be Not OK from now until forever. Or I can base the answer, and how I think about my day, on... well, everything else.

Don't get me wrong: that doesn't mean I'm not going to bitch. I will, and I do, and sometimes it really does start to grind me down. But I can't, and won't, let it define my life.


Anonymous said...

Every day when one wakes up, it's a choice every person makes. I have NO idea what you have been/are going through but I applaud the endless optimism that sneaks out that it will not make life unhappy for you and those around you. While your disease can put you in a bad place, not everybody gets to make a choice as clearly as you have to proactively enjoy life and that, my friend is a true blessing :).

-"katja" or katie harris anderson

ignorant redneck said...


Pain is exhausting--as I age and the toll of my youthful lifestyle stacks up, well, it just becomes part of life.

But you're right--we can base our ideas of our own well being on what is happening in a holistic sense, or concentrate on pain and restriction.

The first works. The second makes ones life boring and a cross.