Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Stress, Surprises, and Spoons

I'm going to do something different in this post. I know I haven't written in a while and that's just because my schedule hasn't made it to where I can take a break and actually write down my thoughts. I was also debating whether or not to share this post with the world. Well, I made the somewhat hesitant decision to do so. But I'm doing it because I want to show you just how amazing you are.

Nobody knew I wrote this post. I wrote it about 2ish weeks ago when I was hurting and had a horrible day. I wanted to give you an personal, inside look at what it's like to struggle with pain, thoughts that come with it, and stress. It was one of those "I'm going to type out my feelings just as they are" type of things.

So enjoy! lol!


Lately I've been thinking a lot about my life and if I'm going in the right direction.

School is stressful, man.

And for the past few weeks I've been fighting to stay functional.
The stress takes a toll on your body and when you have a chronic illness that can be the one thing that makes or breaks you.

Can you handle the stress?

These days, I don't know.

At what point do you let the stress and pain take over?
At what point do you beg for mercy because you can't handle another day and all you need is just a breather?

I like to think it wouldn't be this bad if I was back on my steroids, but those cause problems too.
I've been on them over 7 years and finally I'm off of them.
That is a miracle in itself!
I've never really been able to get off of them, but I'm going on a month and 12 days of being free of them.

But those help.

So what's the lesser of 2 evils?

Oh and the cherry on top is that I'm out a rheumatologist until November.

The good times just keep on rolling in!

But these things are just obstacles, right?
They aren't signs that I should give up, throw in the towel, and walk away?
They aren't voices in my head saying that I can't do this.
They aren't taunting me, saying that I'm too weak to make it to the end.
Saying that the odds of a person with a chronic illness making it to her doctoral graduation are slim to none.
I mean the research favors that very notion.

All of that isn't true, is it?

Am I wasting my time and energy on something that is killing me?
Is the end result worth what I'm putting my body through?

Or is the exhaustion, pain, and frustration just getting to me?

Shake it off, right?
I won't quit.
I will push forward.

I mean, Lauren Holiday had open heart surgery as a kid and now she's about to retire from an amazing soccer career. She's on the US women's national team, you know, the ones that just won the world cup.
I recently talked to a wonderful lady who just did an Ironman and she has RA. An Ironman! I can barely walk a few miles!
I know another one who just graduated with her Ph.D from NYU and she works for the arthritis foundation helping kids just like us.

It's not impossible.
It can be done.

I wrote this out because I thought it would make me feel better. And I was right....it did, for that day.
I also wrote this out so you could see the struggles that we are faced with. I know I talked a few weeks ago about the places are minds will wander when we are in pain. Well, these are some of those thoughts. We start to second guess ourselves. We slowly start to lose faith in our abilities. We start to realize that life might be easier if we just let those feelings take over.

But then what would that make us? To me, that would make me a quitter. That would make me regret something that I had the power to control. I always remind ya'll that I don't have all the answers. But I do know that I want to beat the odds.


After I wrote this post I went to class, came home, and checked my mail.
In the mailbox was my first spoon.

I was so confused! lol! Why did I have a spoon in the mail!
Then over the course of the next few weeks I got more and more spoons.
I can't begin to tell you all how much that meant to me.
Other than my blog, I'm not one who likes to dwell on the fact that I go through these things.
I don't like talking about the struggles and I don't really like others to know about them.
This blog has given me the opportunity to share those parts of me in hopes that I can reach out to others.
I don't do this for pity. I don't do this for sympathy.
I do this because others who are going through the same things need to know they aren't weird, or crazy, or alone.

So thank you all for reminding me that I'm not alone.
Thank you for giving me the spoons I need to survive each stressful, crazy, and insane day I have.
Thank you for continuing to read my rambling thoughts and supporting me in all that I say and do.

And if you ever come over, I now have enough spoons for all of you :)