As I was thinking about what I wanted to share on my 2 year Sepsis Anniversary- I started having some very dark thoughts. I started listing everything I’ve lost since 2 years ago yesterday. It made me extremely depressed. I realized, I needed to share the dark, as well as the hope.
Of all the things I’ve lost-my ability to walk more than several yards- possibly, 1/4 of a mile, without excruciating pain that often lasts for days – this is the one that is the VERY, VERY hardest for me. The night before Sepsis-was the very LAST time I was able to fully exercise- 6 miles after dinner. (Lack of blood flow- lead to 10 torn tendons in my legs and feet).
The ability to drive – I can’t concentrate well enough to merge- or sometimes, how to get home – not to mention the below mentioned dizziness.
2020 presented a whole new set of problems- bones breaking spontaneously. In addition- falls and dizziness. It seems that calcium likes to hang out in my blood and not in my bones.
Maybe the hardest is the emotional side- as in- I’ve lost the sense of a future and my self confidence. I was born with confidence- it’s hard to lose it.
I’ve spent at least 2 days every week since early May at Mayo going through testing and consultations. I have lots of answers- but plenty of questions left. I see my orthopedic Dr on Monday- and I’m prepared to BEG him for an operation that he claims is too risky for me. I’ve decided I’m willing to take the risk, because I want my life back. BUT……….
There’s more- but, I have to face the reality of this life.
Of course- all of this is happening to me personally, while people all over the world are dying, losing their jobs, and their own sense of life and a future. It’s hard to focus on me, when my heart is truly broken by our world and it’s circumstances. I mentioned in a previous blog- that I often bury my face in my hands and just cry. That hasn’t changed at all.
For the past 2 months, I’ve been really fortunate to have won a free package of health coaching sessions from my health club. They picked 5 people based on answers to a questionnaire and a short phone interview with the coach. The coaching sessions have been much more helpful and insightful than I ever hoped they could be. My coach studied at Duke Integrative Medicine, Mayo Center for Resilience and Wellbeing, and U of MN Center for Spirituality and Healing. She definitely has all of the bona-fides.
I had ‘homework’ after every session. I always looked forward to getting her questions answered. I learned quite a bit about myself that I previously took for granted- or didn’t really own up to. One of the big take-aways was that I don’t allow myself to feel the gift that being a patient advocate is. When someone thanks me for help- I seldom know how to take that as a compliment or as a GIFT. So, the next time, you thank me for help- please make sure that I realize the GIFT you just gave me. Coach helped me set some goals- the type I’ve not set for myself in the past. She also taught me some new breathing exercises (which I’ve always done). These are a bit more involved – and really help when I find myself agonizing over the state of the world. She reinforced something my Mayo Drs always tell me- I’m too hard on myself. Just BREATHE.
It’s been goal setting week in my head- I programmed a VERY SHORT physical therapy program to music (like when I used to teach- but with an iPod instead of a cassette tape). It only lasts for 7 minutes- my hope is to start small and work up to the same program several times/day. This ALL depends on my appointment with my orthopedist on Monday. But, I will do SOMETHING – even if it’s simply sitting and breathing.
So- I will continue to work on ACCEPTANCE and GRATITUDE.
In the words of Michael J. Fox- “Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is.- and that there’s got to be a way though it”
If Michael can do this- so can I.
Thanks for reading this- I needed to get it off my chest.
Hope to write again in 1 year.