Indeed, it is back to reality now on all fronts, but this time, reality is wrought with change.
Please do not interpret this post as one large complaint, as that is not my intention. Rather, it’s my attempt at authenticity as I share a sliver of what it is like living with Lupus and Fibromyalgia.
Last week was a sea filled with many changes as I returned for my 16th year of teaching, including (but not limited to) adjusting to a completely new schedule and a substantial increase in daily physical activity (in part a byproduct of said new schedule).
I began each day with a short meditation and a smile. I put my best foot forward with my heart in the right place and a positive “Let’s do this!” attitude.
Each day proved to be a challenge, and at the end of the day, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of “Nope. I. Can’t. Do. This.”
The summer months off benefits my health greatly. I obviously get a lot more sleep, but I am also able to rest after any sort of activity. Whether it’s after mowing the lawn, exploring our world, or racing after my niece and nephews, I have the time to recuperate and re-energize. If I’m still tired, I take it slow. Even while in Dublin, the schedule I made for myself each day included time to sit and rest. I walked, then I sat, and repeated during the entire trip.
When September arrives, reality drops like a sack of cement bricks from the top of a 10-story building.
On the first day of school, the green flag furiously waves to start the race, and every day from then on through June, it’s go-go-go-go-go from the time I wake at 4:45 AM until well after the end of my work day.
I am depleted of energy yet “energized” with pain well before my work day is done. I chose the word “energized” because the pain throughout my muscles and joints is like an electric current, radiating and moving up and down while simultaneously throbbing in singular locations such as my inner hip bones and knees. Sitting only stiffens me up, but because I’m so fatigued, I have no choice but to sit when I can, and that’s not often.
My brain is also shot, full of fog and clouds and headache and other barriers to intelligent thought, creativity, and concentration.
It has been nearly impossible to complete any sort of professional responsibilities after my last class at school or after I get home. Likewise, I cannot do laundry, clean, write, or even take a short walk around the block. My eyelids begin closing well before dusk, all the while pain circulates throughout my body and pulsates in my head.
My symptoms are again in control already, and I hate it. So disappointing.
I honestly give everything I have, day in and day out, to my profession, but my diseases end up rendering me physically and mentally useless.
I really don’t think I’m asking too much by wanting to have a life after my work day ends, but with the pain and fatigue, how is that even possible?
After just one week, I already feel like I’m being pulled under and there’s no…
Wait a minute….
I notice a hand with manicured black fingernails reaching for mine.
The lifeguard who is trying to save me is my spirit guide, full of assertiveness, comfort, and hope.
SHE pulls me up and says, “Your purpose is stronger than your pain.”
I can hear her voice, in my head, saying those words, like she is standing right next to me.
And I want so hard believe her.
She also says, “Hey you…work on your book already, dammit. You can find time to write at least 200 words each day, you chump.”
In her unique and sassy way, SHE has already led me to the revelation of my purpose: teaching, writing, and living.
And now SHE is reassuring me, guiding me towards what’s ahead, what I should be doing, with emphatic certainty.
I can see it, a small glimmer of a speck of light, the light that’s shining ahead.
It’s going to take a while to reach, but it’s there.
Mind over matter, she says, mind over matter, and minute by minute. The light that shines ahead is nothing to be afraid of.
I breathe out my uncertainties. They are now dispelled from my being.
I inhale nothing but possibility and positivity.
My passions and purpose MUST be stronger than my pain.
Last week was nothing more than an anomaly, a road block, a mere short detour on my journey.
I sternly tell the pain it is NOT necessary or wanted, that it needs to vacate the premises immediately and to take the fatigue with it. It’s time for both to get the heave-ho.
My body will listen and adjust to my new “normal” for the next 10 months, as it doesn’t have a choice.
The kinks in my daily schedule will be worked out, and each day will be easier than it’s yesterday.
I will prioritize what is most important each day, balancing my teaching responsibilities with time to write and time to live. The three will live in harmony so I can live in joy.
My symptoms are no longer in the driver’s seat, rather, I am the chump who is in charge and in control.
I’ve GOT to believe…
I am stronger than my pain. My soul is stronger than my pain. My purpose is stronger than my pain.
Well, would you look at that?
Instead of feeling like I’m drowning, I am standing firmly on the shore with my focus on that tiny glimmer of light that shines ahead strong and steadfast.
Postscript: Just to reiterate so I am not misinterpreted, I am the CHUMP referenced in the title. 🙂