Healthcare

Baby decisions and chronic illness

I grew up in a small town. When I say small, I mean 400 people. My graduating high school class had 18 students. That being said, I babysat a LOT of the kids in town. I always wanted to be a parent…but.

There’s that ‘but’ that kept nagging at me while I was growing up. To keep things simple, let’s just say that there is a huge neurological history in my family. Enough that even in junior high I was starting to wonder if I should carry a child when I got married. I didn’t want to pass on any genetic issues. Things seemed to run on the female side and if I could stop it, then I had a decision to make.

Fast forward through high school and college to when I did get married. We both wanted children, but something kept nagging. Then several years later I had a mass in my chest that we thought was cancer. When it was removed, it turned out to be benign, but the surgery had affected my breathing. Half of my diaphragm was paralyzed for a year and I haven’t been able to lay flat for the last seven years.

In 2014 that’s when all hell broke loose. Life was turned upside down and we were forced to figure out which way was up and what the “new-normal” was. I knew that having children was out of the picture.

Our hearts ache for what we will never have. So many of our friends have children and are having more. They are guarded when they tell us that they are pregnant. I am equally guarded in response. My heart is bursting with joy and crying at the same time.

I quilt as a hobby and have made receiving blankets, wall hangings and quilts for these precious babes. They are made with so much love and joy. Seeing the smiles on our friends’ faces when they see them is the best part.

Several friends have made us honorary aunt and uncle, which to us is momentous. We get to be a part of those kiddo’s lives. Each time I see them, I imagine what our children would be like at that stage. Then I push the thought away.

Have you ever noticed that if someone mentions a certain item, that you start seeing it everywhere? Do you have any idea how many commercials are on TV with kids? Do you know how many times we look away or close our eyes?

We’re not the only ones yearning for that something that we will never have. So many others with chronic illnesses have the same decisions to make every single day. The what-if game plays over and over and over in your head. Yet you still come to the same conclusion and there is always the ‘but.’

baby

 

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Healthcare

Turning the page but not losing sight of the old

It’s January 1, 2018. You may be rolling your eyes and thinking, “well, duh.” Our resolutions to lose weight or become a marathon runner quickly escape our grasp as we reach for the last cookie from Christmas. Well maybe not that quick…I’ll give you a couple more hours.

Yesterday someone had a very valid point. Resolutions can be challenging in themselves, but add on multiple chronic illnesses and it turns into a tightrope course. Personally my balance sucks (I’m not even going to attempt to figure out how many times I fell in 2017). What if instead of resolutions, we set a goal each day? To me that seems manageable. We do it all the time already. Why not stick with what we know? There is nothing written in stone that says, “you MUST declare a resolution on Jan 1…or else!”

Let’s make 2018 the year for us. If we aren’t caring for ourselves, then how can we be expected to carry out multiple roles that we occupy on a daily basis. That seems like an obtainable goal. Let’s get better at self care and let go of everything that is holding us back. We only live once, so we need to make this life something that we cherish each and every day.

Putting yourself first is not selfish. It is actually a gift. Others take care of us too, but we need to start the process. Hold yourself accountable for your actions.

Before we completely start a new chapter, we need to finish the one we were just on. What was 2017 like in your book? I know for many of us, it was a rollercoaster ride.

My year was a whirlwind of good and bad. I have more insight into my medical condition and have a booming blog (thanks to all of you)! Most important in the good column is that I’m sitting here breathing. That is something that we should all be thankful for.

2017 was also a year of losses. Several very close friends of mine passed away. The world somehow seems a little smaller without them in it. Even though they will live on in our hearts forever, the physical emptiness is profound. One of the hardest things about doing Christmas cards is taking names off of the list.

This was a year of exploration and discovery. It seemed like opportunities have been appearing around every corner. My disease finally gave me something to really be grateful for. I didn’t think that would ever happen. Good things can come out of bad situations. They may not be in the way we thought. But, ultimately the man upstairs has a lot in store for you and I.

As we turn the page. Don’t forget to sign on the dotted line. 2017 deserves your autograph. 2018 is just getting started. So here’s to goals, self care and putting yourself first. You’re armed with an assignment….now get going! The minutes are ticking away.

When you call on me
When I hear you breath
I get wings to fly
I feel that I’m alive
When you look at me
I can touch the sky
I know that I’m alive
When you bless the day
I just drift away
All my worries die
I’m glad that I’m alive

~Celine Dion

happy new year 2018