Tiara’s Tuesday Talk – by Sara Sheibley
Why didn’t anyone tell us this crud?
I’ve been sick for what? 5 years now? Okay, okay… 26 but who’s counting? (Me, that’s who.) At what point would it have been important to explain that the “heat” radiating off my body is inflammation? I think doctors forget we can’t read minds. However, since I can’t take nsaids, it’s a terrible situation and it’s one that more and more of us are going through. Drug intolerance, ulcers, allergies… these are just a few of the reasons why most of us have lost our 1st line of offense.
Offense? Yes offense. Offense: noun the act of attacking. We use medicines to attack the inflammation in our body. Typically, this starts with nsaids, then harsher drugs until eventually we are either stuck in pain management or infusion rooms putting chemicals into our bodies that make us functional.
We deal with side effects such as our hair falling out, gums bleeding, cancer risks, yet we take the medicines weekly, monthly, daily. It’s easy for people who aren’t sick to tell us that we should look for “alternate” means of treatment. The sad reality is most of us do use acupuncture, chiropractics, physical therapy, herbal supplements, yoga, massage along WITH the medicines prescribed.
So what’s left?
Now I’m not saying that everyone who is sick has a poor attitude BUT it is proven that people with chronic illness tend to be depressed. We’ve all been there… The “why me’s” and questioning if it is worth it to push on. I know I have. I went through a very dark time after numerous surgeries, procedures and medicine after medicine, I lost it. I showed up at my doctor’s office in tears, no more like hysterical.
I had a very long surgery which ended with me losing part of my bladder and when I checked out of the hospital, they removed my catheter. This of course is standard hospital procedure. The problem was, mine was through the front of my stomach. As I was leaving I noticed that the front of my pants was getting wet. Seriously??? I started to laugh. WOW. Here I had had all this work done and my bladder contents were leaking out of my stomach.
At this point I decided I needed a change in my attitude. Do I cry or do I laugh? I laughed. This was funny? Not really but what was going to do about it? The doctor said it would close up in about 24 hours so why not make the best of what I was given. This was ultimately the beginning of a turn around, or as the old advertisement says “turn your frown upside down”.
Attitude, attitude, attitude…. It’s not going to cure us but it is going to change our prospective on things. Something that seemed like a blight on our day (e.g. medications, injections or infusions) may now be an opportunity to make friends. A walk is an opportunity to look at nature not a chore and maybe the sun shines a little brighter.
Recently I was talking to a friend who had made a major life changing decision and during our conversation she said, “I’m tired of feeling the way I do so I am choosing to change myself.” It’s the same for all of us. We can’t take away our disease but we can CHOOSE to change how we feel.
Tomorrow you may wake up, achy and stiff. Tomorrow you may jump out of bed spry like a spring chicken. Tomorrow is a new day and each day gives us an opportunity to decide how we want it to go. Do we wake up happy? Probably not. It took me 15 minutes just to get my feet to make contact with the floor so I could hobble around and get dressed to take the dog outside. Was that joyous? No. It was dark and cold but I had a cup of coffee and snuggled with my little guy for a bit and it was better. Not great but better.
So today, tomorrow and every day, make an active choice to check your attitude. How is it today? Can I make it better? Be a Pollyanna. Think of happy things. Today I’m glad for sunshine, my kids, free eye doctor’s appointments and coffee… Lots and lot of coffee.
(If this cup of coffee that’s about to become stomach contents can be happy, so can we!)
Sara Sheibley is a wife and mother of four. Through out most of her life she has dealt with chronic illness. Born with small fiber axonal polyneuropathy, she had aches and pains early on but wasn’t diagnosed with AS until 2008. Since then she has had to champion her own cause after she developed hemalytic anemia from treatments. Although she suffers with more than just AS, she feels that this is her primary illness and wants to be active in helping the cause. Sara & her Tiara’s Tuesday Talk will discuss a myriad of topics from assistive devices to walking help when you have other illnesses to consider.