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.